Not a Pretty Picture

Print More
The author’s haul.

The author’s haul.

Two years ago, I wrote an article for the Observer, “Stepping Out” in Suffield, that explained the benefits of walking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The amount of debris on the roadsides was disturbing to me and the article mostly addressed the issue of litter in our town and my role in keeping my walking routes litter free. I wish I could say that the problem doesn’t exist anymore but that would be a falsehood. So I have continued the routine of keeping one small area litter free but with some changes. When warmer weather arrives, I am motivated to run to prepare for upcoming 5Ks.

However, I can’t pick up litter and run at the same time. So now I select a route and run my 5K. Although I have to focus on where I place my running feet (some streets are hazardous) and I need to watch and listen for traffic (especially with distracted drivers using cell phones), I still manage to spot the offending litter. So once I complete my “training”, I then go back to walk the route armed with latex gloves and plastic bags. Yes, I wrote “bags”. With nicer weather, more people are out, and you guessed it! More trash on our lovely streets and the volume had increased. Hence, I bring two bags. So in my second leg of daily exercise, I not only get a lower body workout but I now carry weighted bags. The bags get heavy from glass beer bottles and half filled water bottles that have been used as spittoons by tobacco chewers. I have strengthened my biceps and triceps by carrying these bags. Bending, stooping and stretching to pick up the litter contribute to the workout

I wish to extend my thanks to the litterers that recap the Sutter Home and Woodbridge wine bottles. They are much easier to pick up as one piece. Thanks also to the offenders that don’t throw the litter deep into the woods. Poison ivy is plentiful along the roadsides. Thanks also to the homeowners that clear their lawns of bottles and trash that others leave. And thanks to the majority of residents that wouldn’t even consider littering our beautiful town. I am also grateful to the other walkers who recognize the issue and lend a helping hand.

Although I am delighted to work on maintaining and improving my healthy lifestyle, it continues to be irksome that the litter walk is necessary. I can reap the same healthy benefits by mowing my lawn, gardening or walking through town parks. I would much rather be enjoying the beauty of the bike trails, Stony Brook and Sunrise Parks, the Lewis Farm Sanctuary, or the Jesse Fowler Smith Forest. I would be happier bending to observe sightings of flora and fauna than stretching to pick up trash. Thomas Jefferson once said, “Of all exercises walking is the best.” It certainly is when our paths are litter free. Let’s all lend a hand to keep our town litter free.

Comments are closed.