Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Litter: A Brief Love Affair

Litter is typically not my friend. I sneer or sigh, depending on my mood, whenever I see a roadside covered in debris that other people, those less environmentally aware, carelessly toss away without thought about Mother Earth or aesthetics. Litter hating is part of our family identity. My husband has made it his personal mission to pick up litter whenever he hikes or walks. He's been known to bring a small garbage bag with him for just this purpose.

I suspect Hell may have frozen over because, last night, I became infatuated with litter.

My photography instructor told the class to go outside for 20 minutes and take photos of a rather bleak looking college campus. According to him, the lighting was perfect. It was the so-called "golden hour" when the sunlight was just right - not too bright and not too dark.

My first picture was of a tree. But, it wasn't right. There was no color, not just in the evergreen, but everywhere on campus, which had to have been built sometime in the era of architectural blandness. I spent a good share of my minutes searching for early blooming crocuses, the only thing I could think of that would perk up the boring subject matter. Instead, something much more colorful caught my eye.
The litter stood out like Snooki in an Amish community. It was vivid and gaudy in the wee hours of a spring that's still yawning under a blanket of last autumn's drab leaves.
There was color on this college campus after all! Hallelujah!
My husband would have snapped the photos then quietly picked up the trash and put it in the nearby bin. I probably would have on a normal day. But, I left it there decorating its landscape like some twisted version of spring flowers.
It kind of says something about who we are as people, as Americans, doesn't it? We buy, consume and toss, leaving traces of our lives for all to see. Maybe hoping someone, anyone, will see. We were here.


  1. Interesting photos and good for your husband. In our area it is prison workers who clean up litter. Is is a warm weather for you now? We have had a warm weather in Florida.


  2. Yes, it's unseasonably warm here now. It was 73 yesterday, which is not typical for March. I don't know why NY doesn't use prison workers to clean the roadsides. They should!