I have a problem.
Again, with the snickering. I am assured by the professionals that I am not the only one with problems. Humor me here.
My problem is that I want people to stop throwing crap out into the desert. My problem is they will likely not stop throwing crap out into the desert.
So I have come up with a solution to my problem.
I will pick up the crap.
This might be the appropriate place to laugh with derision.
The desert is not where you put things that you want to “go away”. Remember the old Las-Vegas-casino-mafia movies where the bad guy says something like, “You could get “lost” in the desert and nobody will ever find you.” ?
Think Mummy. Think Pyramids. Think “still there after all these years”.
Nothing goes away in the desert. Nothing.
If you put something in the desert, it just sits there. Forever.
Until I find it.
I don’t necessarily want to find it, but I seem to run across the world’s detritus whenever I try to enjoy an untouched piece of nature.
I also want people to stop breaking glass beer bottles in the desert. They will probably not stop breaking glass beer bottles in the desert.
I intend to fix that, too.
I will pick up all the broken glass.
This might also be an appropriate place to laugh hysterically.
There is a 40 acre piece of undeveloped desert down the hill from my house that the dog and I like to walk in. That parcel is considered part of the neighborhood homes as a “common area”.
Common areas for most Tucson housing developments are typically turned into recreational facilities, with tennis courts, swimming pools, clubhouses and playgrounds. Our common area has escaped man made amenities, but it has not escaped a large degree of man made disrespect.
It seems that for decades this parcel of land has been the destination of many beer drinkin’, 22 totin’, target shootin’, recreatin’ litterers.
Holy smoking gunbarrels, Batman. The amount of crap that I have been picking up out of the common area is astounding!
Two soccer balls, three fairly new tires, an array of metal products once utilitarian, now rendered swisscheesy with gunshot wounds. Bent window screens, an old chair, a metal cattle gate. Fiberglass roof panels, paint cans, a blanket, black rubber buckets, also with gunshot wounds. Fourteen yellow golf balls of newer vintage. Black bits of clay pigeons. Brittle garden hose that disintegrates upon touch. A child’s toy. A sneaker that has curled up in the sun. Motorcycle shock absorbers, propane tanks. Beer cans old enough to be rust brown and thin, with triangular holes punched with a real can opener. Pull tabs, spent twenty two gauge shotgun shells, and a few live rounds. Plastic soda bottles, sun bleached aluminum cans. A chain wrapped around an ancient palo verde tree, the tree having been spray painted red, the spray paint can left by the trunk. All of this evenly spaced around the 40 acres.
And broken glass.
It seems that a bottle of beer is not finished until it is dashed against a rock, or used as a target.
Glass does not go away. It does not get soft with time. The desert is supposed to draw blood, but that is why they invented cactus.
The weather is cold enough now for the snakes to be hiding. The weather is warm enough for me to enjoy my little job of glass picking.
So I do.
The dog goes with me, and runs around exploring a bit at first, but then gets bored with my uninteresting activity, and lies panting in the shade waiting for me to get tired.
He is always happy to hear me announce, “Let’s go home and get some water.”
When we walk back up the hill to the house, I am satisfied that the desert glistens just a little bit less, that the jack rabbits and coyotes will have fewer shards to avoid, that the crows will have less shiny stuff to pick through.
I love the sound the bags of broken glass make crashing to the bottom of my garbage bin.
Tuesdays, the garbage truck comes and empties the bin.
Then I get to fill it again.
Little by little, I will clean up my desert.
Giggle if you must, but don’t doubt it.
PS Today’s pickins.