03 December 2011

Small contributions

This Saturday morning Tal and I left home bound for Columbia under bluebird skies.  As the driver, my mind was on the string of turns and towns I needed to negotiate to get us the 30 rural miles from home to the interstate.

Nevertheless, I couldn't miss the fact that it was a gorgeous day.  The deciduous trees are for most part devoid of leaves now, revealing the folding, curving contours of the land.  I love the fact that ponds, normally tucked away and out of sight, glint in the sun, declaring themselves through the winter-thinned woods.

Along that route through the countryside we encountered a sight that sparked a shift in our conversation.  Between Johnston and Ward we passed by what we assumed to be an abandoned car on the side of the road.  That assumption, however, was re-calculated when we began noticing fat orange plastic bags in the grass.  Nearly a mile later we came upon four people wearing orange vests working their way to closer to Ward and filling orange bags .

A very short distance later?  You guessed it, maybe?  Several people on the other side of the road headed in the direction of Johnston leaving a trail of stuffed orange bags.  And, finally, a second "abandoned car," also on the opposite side of the road.  The way we figure it, those eight people had taken on about two miles, perhaps more.  It was clearly a coordinated effort -- each group probably arriving in one car and departing in another.

It's too bad the roadsides need such attention.  I don't want to get caught up in that line of thought.  I'm sufficiently practiced at complaining; no need to invest additional time developing that skill. 

More interesting and important,  not to mention impressive, are those folks we saw on this Saturday morning.  They were making a small, positive contribution to Highway 23 and to the common good.  Yes, the roadside will become littered again.  But, what they were doing, indeed, what they were offering, matters. 

Small, positive contributions.  What's mine going to be?  And, yours ... ?

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