Saturday, April 24, 2004
Wash me and I shall be clean indeed
We cleaned the river walk today. It took a few dozen people just 2 hours to return the trash strewn pathside and riverbank to a pristine park-like state. It took much crawling through muck and thorny tangles, much crashing through stands of dead and hollow bamboo-like knotweed stalks with twigs grabbing at skin and hair -- but it was a lovely spring day with little white flowers and violets coming up and trees bursting into bloom and leaf, and everyone seemed, well, happy to be there, friendly strangers working together to right something that had been wronged. To care for a suffering and abused creature.
In the universe of moral trangressions, littering ranks among the lesser sins. Nonetheless, it's an ugly little act of violence, an epiphenomenon of greedy over-consumption and lack of reverence for the earth. It signifies a radical alienation from the fact of our inextricable connection with the environment for our air, water and food. It signifies a repudiation of our social dependence on and connection to one another. It signifies a culture that acquiesces to over-packaged, over-marketed, over-abundant poisonous cheap food. Greed and carelessness and ignorance all the way up and down the chain from the supersizing bottomlining CEO to the hungry ghost on the banks of the Charles desperate to pour another Dunkin Donuts down its pinhole piehole into the abyss of its unquenchable, wordless, thirst.