Robert & Roberta Adair

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I went to a “beechee kureen” (beach clean or, as I think we call them in ‘Merika, trash pickup) on Monday with some fun people – 90 fun people, to be more specific. I put a few pictures on FB, but I want to process more about the day and about this group of people.

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about 90 of us gathered for instructions
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gorgeous day, gorgeous beach
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the educational part about garbage

For starters, why did I have such a great time? Why did I feel so full? I seriously came home feeling high (not that I would know what that’s like – perhaps euphoric is the word I’m looking for). Was it because it involved picking up trash? I know it’s goofy, but I’ve occasionally driven by men in orange along the highway picking up trash and feeling a touch jealous. Out of all of my 4-H experiences including camp, leather and wood crafts, selling and eating 4-H cookies (which are way better than Girl Scout cookies – I dare you to compare), trash pick ups were my favorite. I loved making something that was less pretty more pretty. I loved the simplicity of it and the silly discovery of it (a garner snake! a snapping turtle! A funny tie!). And I especially liked that at then end, I could see what I had done.

After I had “graduated” from 4-H, I adopted my own stretch of road that ran along a beautiful creek near our home. I did most of the clean up myself, but if I saw a sprite bottle laying on the road where I had just picked up gar-bage, I would gently request my little sister to kindly pick it up (or, as she remembers it, I may or may not have stopped in the middle of the road and yelled, “Pick it up! I’m not moving until you get out of the car and pick up that stinkin’ bottle!” (yep, I was a little too intense then, too.)

Kosovo with lots of garbage in lots of places both drove me crazy and was kind of a dream incubator. And now my friend Ron is doing something rad about unemployment and garbage in one cool move. (not one of my best moments – I saw some young unsuspecting dude toss something out of his car window and I chased him down on my bike waving my hand and yelling in Albanian, “You destroyer of beauty! You destroyer of beauty!”)

So, yep, I find some enjoyment over picking up garbage.

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my friend and 2 of her daughters

Yet, despite Monday being about making a piece of nature even more beautiful and despite the weather being just about perfect (nah, no “just about’s” – it was perfect), I think the real reason why I came home so full was because of the people. I was invited by a good friend. I knew or recognized around 20 to 30 people. And there were dozens of people I had never met before (and, yes, I get a bit of a rush over meeting new people).

We were at the beach from 9:30am to around 2pm.  This included a short meeting, a trash pick up, play time with J, talking with people, and eating yummy stew and fried noodles to celebrate. (sigh) I wish I could do this everyday.

[Despite the beauty of the beach, there is a lot of pain in this community.  There are still lots of scars from the 3.11 tsunami with weedy foundations where homes used to stand, a large trash pile, rice fields and gardens empty or still being rehabilitated, and many piles building materials for erecting a massive seawall.]

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dozens of foundations of homes that were washed away in the disaster
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this was apparently thick with trees and a pretty park

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