HIGHS and LOWs with Mother Earth

I love Mother Earth and Father Sky especially as I feel the clouds cuddle me while riding my moped with its high-speed two-cycle motorcycle engine. I am distracted by seeing cans and bottles thrown to the roadside, feeling sad for mother earth and those who do not love themselves; so how can they care for her?

So, a few years ago I signed up as an Adopt-A-Highway volunteer for a few miles of Coddington Road, Ithaca, NY where Mother Earth’s beauty is exclaimed with waterfall gorges aplenty. Alas, beer cans aplenty ravage the ditches. Pepsi, a few Coke, Mountain Dew thrown in. It’s impossible to express the satisfaction I feel as I lower myself into the ditches and climb out to the “high” of salvaged beauty.

There are times when the cans are filled with dirt and weeds. Once, cigarettes stuffed a can so full that it took me more than ten minutes to pull them all out. I’m sure my fingers felt the distaste of soggy tobacco. But that is not the worst of it! Another time I found bits of some animal after its beer party. At first I couldn’t make out the parts of the pink flesh; after continuing to pull, hard, as the can openings are small, I came to a larger piece with a tail. A second mouse’s head appeared, this one more intact, even more difficult to remove. I felt the low of disgust as well as the high of completing this maybe 20-minute task. Was I freeing the can or the dead mice?

Another time, I found myself removing animal hair clumps, pulling, and pulling, determined to empty the Keystone beer (most frequent brand landing on my road) can so it could be recycled. I’m guessing it took me near 30 minutes to empty, and guessing it was the remains of a rat?

Only since January 2020 did I decide to keep track of how much money I have accumulated from these many cans and bottles. As Memorial Day approaches, the sum is $43.90. WOW! As the weather has warmed toward spring, I’ve been excited to drive to many waterfall hikes in central New York that I have never been to – continuing what my best friend, Gaylee, began with her Guide to Central and Western New York Waterfalls. She left Mother Earth plane May 3, 2019, yet her spirit is with me in new villages, gulleys, creek beds, to waterfalls which fill me with overflowing pleasure. I lean down LOW to pick up cans and bottles discarded in these places too, while selecting heart rocks from water-wonders to make borders for my flower gardens. To remember not only Gaylee, but also how Native Americans have cherished Mother Earth, most recently demonstrated at Standing Rock, where my granddaughter Denali joined them.

I greatfully adopt Mother Earth as my HIGHway.