By Aida von Oiste
In 2018 the Swedes coined the phrase plogging “plock a upp” to encourage picking up roadside garbage. In 2019 Colorado added “plalking while walking” to persuade walkers to do the same.
I live two blocks south of Setauket Harbor. The joy of each morning is walking around the harbor to breathe in the beauty of nature and feast in its seemingly tranquil existence.
As Spring arrives, I look and listen for the mating call of the red-winged blackbird as they return in mid February, along with the geese who fly in formation above me. Up until the red-winged blackbirds arrival, I often hear the call of the red cardinal and watch its brilliant red flash, along with the blue jays squawking year round and robins and sparrows who have been here throughout the winter.
Summer brings out the mockingbirds singing their varied songs. Wrens and crows surface and an occasional little yellow warbler flies by teasing me with its bright yellow. Summer is filled with nature exploding and reproducing. The swans and geese nest, the hawks and owls terrorize the small birds and chipmunks. You see many a bird fighting to protect its territory and keep its mate. Deer families cross the road, a turkey followed by her babies. Not to be outdone are the geese crossing the road with their babies following stopping traffic. The seagulls are here year round.
Fall brings the departure of the red-winged blackbirds, but the harbor is filled with a swan “convention.” Beautifully colored male ducks and their drab mates, and an occasional crane or heron graze nearby as the boats leave their summer lodgings for winter storage. The gun shot of hunters ring out through late fall and winter. A dreaded sound!
The last few months I’ve taken to walking with a plastic bag to pick up the debris strewn by passing cars who throw their garbage out their windows. Empty cigarettes and cigar packages are the most numerous offenders followed by cans and glass bottles of soda, sparkling water, beer cans, and vodka bottles. Discarded tissues and napkins, McDonald’s meal debris, paper bags filled with leftover wrappings from a local deli and lots of plastic bags. Some are filled with dog waste and dumped on the side of the road.
My bag fills up quickly. Cardboard boxes blown by the wind don’t fit so I put them under my arm. But, I leave the dead fish for the seagulls.
Once it was an occasional can I could pick up on the side of the road. Now a bag is quickly filled up each way. We can’t stop the “jerks” from throwing out their trash when they drive through, but we can carry a trash bag and go “plalking while walking.” So, please join me in keeping our home pristine!