Just recently I have taken up bike riding for the umpteenth time. What I find most interesting about this are the observations with which I am ‘gifted’ on my rides. Most are visual while others are from sounds, and odors, scents or smells. There is one such observation that really has upset me, but not necessarily surprised me because I have seen this scene over and over again. However often I see this scene, I find it makes sad commentary on human behavior.
What is that scene you ask… it is dumping! Yes, dumping. It takes several different forms, from throwing trash out the window of one’s car, to taking personal items from one’s home and leaving it on another’s private or public property, to the accident scene that hasn’t been completely cleaned.
About a year and a half ago we built a home in a new development. Originally when we arrived here, our backdoor neighbors were a herd of cattle, and as progress expanded those cows were moved further behind us… beyond the tree line. And with that expansion brought more roads, and a larger area to ride… So, with my bike sitting in the garage for nearly that same length of time and my looking at it nearly every day as I go off to work or do errands, I finally decided it was time for me to take up riding that bike again!
At first I was just riding around my current neighborhood, up and down the streets, in and out of cul de sacs and back home repeating the route to create a decent ride of 4 to 5 miles… then my ride expanded to my going out to the nearest busy street and down a road which is incomplete – it just ends! About 20 yards away is another road, also a dead end… But, that is a whole other story perhaps for another day… I digress!
Anywho, it is about this dead end road of which I speak… Shortly after moving into my home, I was curious about my surroundings and where roads went. One day instead of turning my usual left out of the development I decided to turn right. As I do on my bike, I found a half-mile stretch, two lane road divided by a 6 or maybe a 8 foot grassy median with bike paths on either side…
At the end of this stretch is a barrier with huge “Keep Out,” “No Trespassing” signs attached to the chain link fence. Beyond the fence, I could see the road continued for as far as the eye could see. I thought to myself this really could make a nice ride for me, and maybe there is a way I could go beyond that fence to make a longer ride…
On my first ride outside of the comfort zone of my neighborhood, I took my first turn down that road. When I got to the end I was pleased, and chagrinned! But, how the heck… What happened to the fence? It was gone! No, it had in fact been knocked down! As I entered, a runner was coming toward me, it was obvious others had the same idea – an expansion to whatever exercise of choice!
It was a lovely ride. On either side are gorgeous, old growth Live Oak with sphagnum moss hanging from their branches with a dotting of Pine trees. There are Bismarck palms growing under the safe arms of the trees, so as to somehow protect them. But on the east side of the road, there is a more sparse type of landscape…
It is here that I find my former neighbors, my dear friends the cattle. I felt really happy to see them, it is like finding an old, dear friend! They are scattered in the field, lazily eating. I recognize a number of them as being calves that were born last year in the pasture behind us. Some of them have calves of their own now. Cows protecting their young! The young calves are running, some playing tag of sorts. And, I felt the eyes of some of those majestic species watching and following me as I rode deeper into this area! Maybe they even remembered me as the pesky woman calling out to them last year from my picket fence… doubt it, though!
But suddenly, I was disappointed, to say the least, with what I saw. In disbelief I saw something in the near distance. I couldn’t exactly make out what it was, and shortly as I come onto it, I am able to make it out. It is a 35-pound dumbbell weight!!! I stop, I think maybe I could pick it up and take it home… I pick it up and ride with it for a short distance and realize I cannot ride the 4 miles back with it. I hate to, but I put it back on the road.
I soon discover that the dumbbell is not the only thing that has been left on this road… A short distance away, at the end of the road is a Lazy Boy sectional that has obviously seen better days… Leaning up to it is half of what used to be a ping-pong table with the other half lying behind the reclining sofa… And there are other unrecognizable pieces of particleboard strewn at that site. I stop; take a few pictures of what I later jokingly call my ‘Rest Stop.’ It dawns on me that I forgot to bring some essential items like a picnic lunch and skateboard!
I also observe the “end of the road” that seems to lead to another ‘end of the road’ road. It may be otherwise called the “road to somewhere, but where?” Here is another sad commentary, two county governments who can’t seem to agree as to who is going to finish and connect these two ends! Rubbish! Now, not only do I discover trash BUT/AND there is also a rubbish of sorts! Again, a topic for a later day.
So, not to bore you too much, I go around the loop in the road and continue along the other direction heading back home… I see more trash – left over remnants from someone’s private 4th of July display are scattered everywhere. A little further down the road are three lovely specimens of trash! There on the side of the curb, in the grass are: an upside down Phillips television, a grill minus the propane tank and an old, treadless tire! The only thing that might have salvageable was the tire – you know, for a tree tire swing! What a site!
I am so disappointed… not shocked, not surprised, not even blown away! I rode home, all the way thinking, “Why? Why? Why?” replaying in my head the screeching sounds of Nancy Kerrigan crying after she was violently attacked before the Olympic skating trials! Why, and excuse my language here, the hell do people find it necessary to dump their shit in empty lots, abandoned houses and roads like these?! What was probably a very pristine area at one time is now an eyesore… I wish I knew from whence this trash came… Because if I did, I would load it up and place in the front yard of the person who is irresponsibly dumping his trash inappropriately!
So this is ‘the end of the road’ for this story… There is no moral to the story, there is no resolution to this trash in my particular neck of the woods and there is probably no end to this kind of dumping. And, obviously someone thought this must be the “Road Less Traveled,” but it is not!
An update to this one evening ride was followed up with the same path the next night for me. I observed the dumbbell was gone, thank God for that good Samaritan! But it was also apparent that at least two other people had traveled down this road again in a 24 hour period… the Lazy Boy and ping-pong table had been ‘played’ with and didn’t look as organized as the previous night. I wonder what tonight will bring for the condition of this location?
Lovely, just lovely!