In any event, I just hate seeing trash clutter up such beauty. Since I had an early start this evening and the current was swift, my float came to a close well before sundown. So I figured I’d grab a few bottles before getting out. The rains caused a few logjams of branches, which in turn become “nets” for other branches which then also corral floating plastics. I find it so satisfying to rid the trees and banks of plastic debris that even without being prepared with something to put the junk in, once one starts collecting it’s very had to let anything you see stay.
I happened upon a fly fishing rod and it quickly became a perfect implement to snatch the “flood bags” —those remnants still hanging randomly up in tree limbs. Within 30 minutes, just collecting along the banks of the last five minutes of the float, I elevated my seat in the tube by about 12”. A rough assessment: Twenty plastic bottles, two glass bottles, three aluminum cans, a pill container, one tennis ball, two flip flops, two kid’s toys, a rubber ball, one fly fishing rod, one Super Tough 3,000 psi 8 foot length of hose, innumerable fragments of plastic bags, sand bags, styrofoam cups, carry out boxes, etc. And all the while I get to clamber on rocks, poke at tree limbs, cool my heels in the river, lounge a bit in my tube in the sunshine on a fine evening after work, and basically, feel like a kid again.
Just to top off the evening, after I returned home, while walking through my backyard tube in hand, and randomly plucking some weeds from my mostly ignored vegetable patch, I was surprised when a small brown blob hopped!—I pulled another weed and was delighted to find a toad, regrettably a rarity in these days of fools spraying their lawns with chemicals. Seeing the little critter jumped my mind right back to when I had a pet toad as a ten year old. It hung out in the window well for a few years at our home.
I’d sometimes feed it earthworms and watch it slurp them in inch by inch, until just a nib was sticking out of its mouth like a pointy cigar. I even found a way to hit but not kill —only gently stun— house flies (toads won’t eat dead food). I got thread from my mom, and had a lasso ready beforehand and then as the fly was waking up I would tie a thread to a leg. I’d hover the hapless victim like a bizarre miniature flying steer before my warty pal and reveled in watching his eyes catch sight, then focus, zero in, and all at once ZZAAP! and his amazingly long tongue would leave only an empty thread in the air. Now, where have I put my sewing kit?