One of my most favorite things to do is walk.
My strolls provide an abundant bunch of things to see, hear, smell and watch. When I lived behind a historic home, I would walk all over town since the house was smack dab in the middle of the downtown area of town. Houses were adorned with plants and elaborate landscaping that kept me adequately entertained as I walked my random route.
After I moved to a smaller community in town, and after I was able to get everything in order in the house (which took way longer than I expected!), I began to walk about again. The challenge is that my new living neighborhood is one way in/one way out; it’s a winding way, but it’s secluded and quiet. The only businesses in our longish one-way in/out include a physical therapy and business building, a used car lot and a veterinarian and, at the other end of the subdivision, a child-care facility and small business building.
There are several different ways to walk, and I’ve been able to add variety to my daily treks that make it interesting. The back side of the subdivision snuggles up against wide-open fields that hold cattle and some horses that I have occasion to watch as I walk along. That diversity keeps it a pretty interesting circuit, and I enjoy watching the birds that land on the barbed wire fences that separate the livestock. Several cul-de-sacs are in the development, and to extend my walks, I always make sure that I follow the rounded edges of those streets to add a few extra steps.
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I am – which is not always a positive trait – pretty observant. The first several times I took my walks, I noticed not only the beautiful open surroundings of my new home site, but – sadly – trash. It was randomly dropped around the area, not only along the business end of the circuit, but also along the far side of the child-care building. It wasn’t an abundant bunch of trash, but while walking along, it was enough to spoil my view and nudge my conscience.
One day, I added a new addition to my standard walking attire: a scrunchable plastic bag stuffed into a pocket. With that addition to my ensemble, I was off on a new adventure. Getting close to the more “peopled” area of our subdivision, I picked up not only paper that had blown about the road, but also some remainders of lunch purchases and – oddly – a lipstick with the lid off; the lid was just steps away. I walked toward the housing area and found scarce bits along the road and fence.
Further on, back toward the child-care facility, there was more trash than I expected; I see a definite need for a trash education project for the children and staff that spend their days there during the week. I’m a big believer in learning how to pick up after yourself, not only at home but while you’re out and about.
Other than the more abundant trash toward the child-care facility, I was interested in how long the area would stay clean. Things stayed pretty clear until about four to five days from my first foray; lunch belongings began to appear again, nestled in the grass with a small ketchup bottle and a french fry fast-food container against the fence across the street from the physical therapy and business building.
Apparently, I need to make trash bags a permanent addition to my walking outfit. I’ll also encourage the buildings to add at least one trash can to their facility; there are currently none. If all else fails, I’ll just keep trash pick-up as part of my regular fitness program.
Bonnie Allmon Coffey really enjoys her regular walks about her new neighborhood. She has always been a trash picker-upper. Bonnie is trying to make better friends with the cows.
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