Welcome to your neighborhood. Nice place. Good looking yards, kids playing. Your home and its surroundings give you faith that life is good, faith that what you know to be true is real.
The wind blows. The litter from the next neighborhood drifts into your streets and yards. You pick up the stray pieces. “Shame on those people,” you think.
The litter keeps coming. You begin to pay attention. Fast food wrappers of every sort and shape. Paper wrappers, Styrofoam cups, plastic straws, even small cardboard boxes for mega-meals are a constant theme. Beyond the mess you wonder about the nutrition of fast-food consumers.
Your awareness of litter grows. Walking the dog includes a garbage bag to pick up the obvious pieces. The daily ritual becomes a cause.
more fast food
more fast food
countless styrofoam cups
with plastic lids and straws.
The theme is repetitious. The feel-good duty lends itself to anger toward the foolish who seem not to care.
The litter keeps coming. An inventory game grows out of frustration. Fast food, always fast food wrappers, beer cans, empty cigarette packs, little whiskey bottles, the occasional loose tool off the back of a pick-up trick, used condoms, one-inch square zip-lock baggies with the dealer’s logo (found everywhere). The list continues with the constants and grows with the odd-ball items.
Bullets (unspent), plaid boxers, an empty plastic pumpkin, Christmas decorations, flip flops, a single cowboy boot. Litter is a window into bad behavior.
Then, just as you believe it can’t be anymore weird, there it is. . .the most unusual item. . . ever. Its pages are strewn for several yards along the street. At first, you reject the notion, “It can’t be so,” you say to your dog. But you pick up page after page, verse after verse. “This is wrong,” you tell your dog. But there it is, undeniable.
A handful of facts are not to be messed with in civilized or pop culture. No matter the situation, old people, babies, the flag, and a bible are exempt from bad behavior. But here it is, the tender pages that hold your faith, the truth of all that exists, the word of God blowing and tumbling down the street.
Who would throw away a Bible? Did someone loose their faith? Are they mad? At God? What the hell!
The pages are mangled from car tires and wet from last night’s rain.
Who is without faith? The fools who continue to litter or the optimist who continues to pick up the fool’s trash?
It doesn’t matter. The beat goes on, faith takes a hit and the dog always wants to go for a walk.
Keep the faith.
So . . . I wrote a children’s book, a primer about littering and those who know better.