I have always noticed it, but the world is full of litter. The litter is a stark contrast that sticks out on the landscape like a bluebird in a murder of crows. The world is littered with trash, littered with people, and littered with noise. Now, as I look to the sky above me, my ears are assaulted by the sound of a low flying plane.
All of this litter comes from one thing. Humans. It is my belief that people are the only cause for pollution in this world.
I look to the sky and hear the planes from the Piedmont Triad International Airport. It is exactly ten minutes and six and a half miles from where I am standing right now. Convenience outweighs mindfulness. As it stands, people are more concerned with doing something quickly, instead of doing what they know is right. They abandon their moral obligation to the planet and their environment in order to save time.
In class, we discussed that there are less than fourteen places on earth that are not littered with noise. These places are “utterly free of man-made sound.” At this moment, I wish I were there. I wish I were somewhere in the world where I could only hear the peek of a woodpecker or the whoosh of water over a bed of rocks. Even now, as I bend down to take a picture, the heavy footsteps of a runner clomp behind me and the sounds of a little dog yapping echo in tune with the stream to my left. The owners of the white dog whisper quietly, but still inadvertently disrupt nature’s rhythm and my own thoughts.
As I take a picture of the stream, I see a red book caught between a rock and the fallen limb of a tree. Once again trash mars nature’s majesticity.
As I continue my walk, I see the hearts of young lovers marked in the beech trees along the trail. The initials have been stretched and are hardly recognizable after the many years that have undoubtedly passed since they were etched in the smooth silvery bark of the trees. The narcissism of these young people will have an infinite mark on nature. It will pollute the beautiful landscape and the bark of the trees, permanently.
Even now, as I reflect on the time I’ve spent within the woods, I think of all the trash that has made an appearance in my pictures. The worst part about litter is that the trash is left because of another person’s carelessness and indifference.
I walk down the windy trails and end up at the dam. New art has been painted on the concrete slab. The words read “BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED.” I am not sure if I was supposed to take this as a sign, but in the moment it seems relevant to my current situation. Immediately, I am reminded of the Eastern Red Cedars that dot the pavement leading to the lake. These trees are notorious for being drought tolerant and their ability to withstand poor soil conditions. Despite these conditions, Easter Red Cedars continue to flourish and provide shade for the creatures and organisms that seek refuge under their neede-ly leaves.
Not only do these trees bloom where they are planted, they thrive and are able to support life around them. Despite their shitty conditions, they are able to flourish and remain beautiful. I take the lesson and hope to one day bloom as beautifully.