terre à la poussière

by Alexandra

In my neck of the woods, it always rains — or so it seems, lately. Today, the weather held off long enough for me to accomplished everything I had planned, though, which made me one happy camper.

Today, my crew and I picked up trash at a local park. I had never done anything like this before, and it was a very humbling and enlightening experience. Even though I’m known to many as “the eco-freak” or “that girl who started the environmental club,” I will admit, there are still times when I forget to shut off the water when I’m brushing my teeth (albeit, still half asleep) or times when I have a wrapper or piece of garbage and I’m really tempted to just drop it. “Someone will pick it up,” I say.

Today, I was that “someone.” I picked up cans and plastic bags embedded in the nettle, the glass bottles with algae farms inside, the half-disintegrated styrofoam take-out boxes, and the cigarette butts that people drop as nonchalantly as though they were pebbles.

It was hard work. It made me realize that that “someone” is actually a somebody and not just an abstract member of society.

But, it was beautiful work. Every piece of broken glass that clanked into the Hefty bag among the others was like a gold coin being tossed into a growing chest of riches. It was liberating and it was electrifying. It was energizing. It made me feel so good.

It’s impossible to understand the feeling unless you experience it yourself. I can’t convey the glorious essence of being part of the bigger picture. I feel whole and alive. I feel as though I have purpose, and that I can make a difference. What if everyone took an hour of their week to pick up the loose garbage on their street? What if we all just …

But we don’t. Not everyone picks up trash. Many of us deposit the trash, and I’ll wholly admit it, I’m guilty of the ‘sin’ as well. The key, though, is service. Today I learned how good it feels to give back a little — to help preserve natural beauty, and be grateful for everything I have.

Today I feel refreshed, and I am thankful for this feeling of newness. I am also thankful for all my blessings, especially my family and my warm home, amid all these cold Spring rains.

What are you thankful for?