Monday, November 24, 2008

Country Time and the Environment

First it was the unnaturally bright green color, now that all the leaves are down, that pulled me over to the fence line. A pine sapling has started up under the birch, but as I crossed the ditch and looked closer, a glint of yellow metal caught my eye. Nope, I wasn't panning for gold. The yellow turned out to be a Country Time Lemonade can stuck up in the crotch of the birch. I wonder how that got there, and when, and who put it there and why. Did the drinker think to save it for later recycling, or just not want to pollute the ditch? Last summer I found a shattered Mason jar along the same fence line. No question about recycling there.

These items, so oddly out of context, take me back to a recent trip to Quoddy Head State Park, and the plateau of the Great Meadow with its open view to sea. The beauty of that spot has always been its uninterrupted quiet, but noise can be visual as well as auditory. I was dismayed to see one tacky cairn after another erected (and left behind) by visitors in some vain attempt to say "hey look I was here." Nothing wrong with the occasional cairn that marks the trail, but on the ledge, there's no trail to mark, and there were so many non-functioning cairns that they really ruined the sense of open space and untouched beauty. The motto "pack it in, pack it out" applies here too - in the sense that we should leave nothing behind to disturb the natural quiet that brings us to places like Quoddy Head in the first place.

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