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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: Lending a helping hand to the environment

© Another Day in the Country

There was quite a crew of people volunteering to pick up trash out at the reservoir on Saturday. It was nice to see the high school kids involved! We put on our gloves, sprayed ourselves down with bug repellent, grabbed a couple of trash bags and went to work!

A contest of sorts erupted among our group as to who collected the most Coors or Bud Light cans. There evidently were favorites emerging in certain areas of the lake.

The crew foraged far and wide hunting for anything deemed ecologically unsound like cans, Styrofoam, mangled road signs, tires, plastic of any kind, water bottles, and paper — right down to gum wrappers. I mean, we were thorough!

There were a couple of things that surprised me.

No. 1 was that these areas weren’t as bad as I expected. They weren’t filled with trash in the ditches and garbage dumped out, littering the ground. All in all, the coves we prowled were pretty clean. We had to really hunt for trash.

It made me rather grateful to the visitors who come to Marion Reservoir and pick up after themselves. I was impressed. There’s a lot more refuse blowing the streets of Ramona than I saw on Saturday at the lake. We decided we need to take trash bags with us when we walk around town to make sure our own environment is as clean as the reservoir.

The second surprise was that beer cans and cigarette packages were the highest thing on the list of trash I found, which tells you something. To me it said, “People who smoke and drink need to be more responsible — both to their bodies and also the environment.”

There’s nothing like picking up trash to make a person more aware of trash in general. Once you’ve been out for a few hours scouring the countryside for junk, it just keeps being flagged in your brain.

I am grateful to the folk who spearheaded this clean-up drive and I was glad we decided to join in, although there were a lot of other things I could have done on a Saturday morning.

It was fun to spend a few hours with people we don’t often see. It was gratifying to be out in nature on a beautiful day. I also was exposed to parts of Marion County that I’d never seen before and learned some history. It was also good exercise.

It was a surprise to discover that most of the people in the group I joined were folk who had grown up right here in Marion County. That says something! They had childhood stories to share about when the reservoir was built and family fun out at the lake.

“We don’t travel much to far off places,” one guy said, “We just come out here with the boat and enjoy the water.”

Afterward, my sister and I had an errand to run in Wichita so we took off down the freeway toward the big city. In a couple of hours we were headed back out of town.

“I’m so glad we live in the country,” my sister said, as we drove toward home. “Too much congestion in town.”

I had to laugh. Congestion?

We have been spoiled. We were only slowed down once on the freeway when there was an accident, unlike in the Napa Valley where it is bumper to bumper traffic through even a small town like St. Helena on a Saturday afternoon.

We have become so used to wide open spaces where we can see miles and miles of green wheat fields stretching off to the horizon. We are blessed to have fishing coves and smooth water for skiing within just a few miles of home. We live in a wonderful environment and we need to keep it pristine!

How lucky can you be to be spending another day in the country, where a traffic jam is two parked cars and a dog in the road?

Last modified April 28, 2016

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