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  • Writer's picturedarbyline

Picking up trash, leaving love

I walk every day along the canal near my home. Every day I smile at the herons, the marsh hens, the turtles, even the lizards. Every day I take home gifts from the earth—feathers, shells, wildflowers—even if only in pictures I take so I can savor their beauty later.

Today I took home a sweet little snail shell and a pretty white feather—and some other gifts: plastic bottles, cigarette butts, pieces of styrofoam, candy wrappers and papers, beer cans, used band-aids, even discarded masks. Things tossed aside without a thought for how they can and do end up in the intracoastal waterway and ultimately in the bellies of those birds and reptiles and fish I greet every morning.

I call these things gifts because they offer me an opportunity to say Thank You to the Holy One who made “all creatures great and small.” A way to protect these creatures who have become my friends. And an opportunity to do something my friend Rev. Lisa Benton and her ministry, Flowing Rock, taught me: pick up trash, leave love. Say a tiny prayer each time I pick up some piece of trash. Leave positive energy behind.

That’s all it takes. Doing what you can to replace thoughtlessness with presence in the world. Whether it’s visible trash or toxic energy, leave love in its place.

Just do it and see how you feel. Then imagine how the world will feel if everyone does it. One piece of trash, one littered park, one hurting person at a time.

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