Trail Offerings ~ Iced Tea Can

As I walked along the bluff toward the old Reid Boiler Works, I noted an aluminum can a couple of feet off the trail in tall grass. I’d look for it on my return.

Litter has always been one of my pet peeves, no matter where I lived (Hawai’i, Florida, Japan, Connecticut, California, and Washingon. As I recall, Japan was cleanest).

Here, along the Bellingham trail system, another pet peeve of mine is the small plastic bag of dog poop carefully tied off and thoughtfully left for City Park employees to pick up. I saw two of these yesterday. Occasionally, I’ll pick these up and transport them to the nearest trash receptacle. Not yesterday. 

I walked on to Boulevard Park along the water, and enjoyed the sunshine. The sky was largely cloudless, except to the north and Canada.

I am practicing acceptance. The only thing we have any control over is our response – to litter, to what others say or do, to what happens.

On my return trip, I found the can and picked it up. It was a “Razzleberry Flavor [peace sign] Peace Tea” (Trademark).” It was a tall aluminum can with a wrap-around image of a [peace] demonstration. Members of the crowd were carrying signs such as “True freedom comes with great responsibility”, “We must think for ourselves”, “Don’t tread on me”, “We are in this together.” Product description included “100% Natural Tea / No Aritificial Flavors / No Preservatives / No Artificial Colors.”

PeaceTea website:

I was impressed with the product but not with this product placement along the trail. I wasn’t impressed with the fact that the (enlightened?) drinker of this product discarded the can along the trail.

As lovely a place as Bellingham is, I have to note that there are PCB’s in Bellingham Bay and a number of sites with toxic materials from the area’s industrial legacy.

If we can’t prevent a simple, preventable problem like littering, how can we hope to clean up Bellingham Bay and the toxic industrial sites around the city and county? Imagine this question for the area you live in.

Suggestions: practice acceptance, and examine your thought stream. Pick up trash and leave the trail “better” than how you found it. Organize a cleanup. Lobby for recycling bins to be placed in high foot traffic areas. Write a letter to the Editor. Ask your elected representatives what they are doing to clean up toxic sites such as Superfund sites in your city, county, and state. Ask what you can do to help.

Blessings, Andy

About Andrew Shattuck McBride

I am a writer, editor, writing coach, and consultant. I work in a variety of genres, including poetry, short stories, and creative non-fiction. I also have a couple of novels simmering on back burners. THANK YOU to Nan Macy of Village Books for taking this photo (June 2011).
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2 Responses to Trail Offerings ~ Iced Tea Can

  1. Jim Milstead says:

    One might collect the many plastic packages of leavings, epoxy them together, create a sculpture, attach Dijon mustard (or would that be must turd) labels to the piece and title it Grey Poupon.

    • Hi Jim,

      Laugh out loud funny! Indeed.

      Some days I’ll pick them up and throw them away. Other days I won’t.

      Unfortunately, it creates additional work for the park employees!

      Press on with your writing!

      All the best, Andy

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