Waste Everywhere I Look

My morning plan for a hike in the coastal hammock was foiled elegantly by the rain. Florida doesn’t usually have rainy days of fog and mist and hours of falling water.  We’re much more inclined to sudden cloud bursts and passionate thunderstorms with lightning strike theatrics and the thunder ad-libbing its lines.  They’re too full of energy to last very long and quickly blow themselves out.

Days like this remind me of the mid-Atlantic climate I left behind; where the sun would be cast over for days or even weeks on end in the late winter and early spring before the world finally woke up and began its new year.  The rain is drizzling just lightly enough to make me feel that I can hazard a walk out to the grocery store and I’m feeling too cooped up in the house to stay inside all day long.  I haven’t taken a walk around my own neighborhood in ages.  I can’t remember the last time I actually walked the half-mile to Publix.

The fallen pine cones smell almost like roasted hazelnuts along the concrete sidewalk. They’re wet, and the clean smooth smell of the rain accentuates the otherwise earthy dark aroma.  Almost like wet coffee grinds.

The orange grove is well set back in this neighborhood, but I go out of my way to walk alongside it.  Whoever owns it hasnt exactly kept the grove up.  The irrigation lines are here but they don’t look as though they’ve really been used much this season, or even last.  There are thousands of windfalls scattered about and the fruit still on the tree is far from the lacquered bright orange perfection of the Navels you see in the market.  I suppose they’re more of the juicing variety than the sort you truly put on the table.  There are brown smears and blemishes all over the pebbled skin, and some of it still clinging to the branches has deep holes in it from unguessed insect visitors.

What is the purpose of an orange grove if no one is eating the fruit? I suppose it certainly offers some habitat space for snakes and anoles, armadillos and cover for birds that would otherwise be rather open prey for the Cooper’s hawks.  But is an orange grove, if unused, a better substitute than the natural scrub habitat that would otherwise stand here?

It seems so wrong to let all of this food go to utter waste.

The detour doesn’t last long; I’m back out on the sidewalk to the main road in moments and walking up to the storefront.  The path is less than scenic.  It seems everyone whose driveway empties out to the main street feels that their lawns end well before the sidewalk begins.  There is an enormity of trash.  Just as much as I find along the shorelines.

Pepsi bottle, cigarette lighter, Mountain Dew can, Dove chocolate wrapper, plastic straw, cigarette pack, bottle cap, AA battery, paper clip, cigar tip, plastic bag, plastic bag, aluminum foil, Wendy’s wrapper, plastic spoon, metal knife.

I wonder how much rain it will take to wash any of this out to the Lagoon less than a mile down the road?

I never considered before that my cleanup projects didn’t have to be on the shoreline; that they could in fact occur much much closer to home.