It makes me absolutely crazy to see how much trash is lining the ditches in our community. The increase in traffic to the North Dakota oil fields has exponentially increased the amount of trash in our ditches. I know these people are stopping for gas/snacks/drinks, etc., along with way. Why can’t they throw their trash in a garbage can? It makes my heart sad when you hear a clink or plastic sound when you stab your pitchfork into a bale while pitching up hay for the horses. Then we find a pop bottle, chip wrapper, gut bomb wrapper, or something of the sort stuck inside the bale of hay. It makes my heart sad to see all the trash in the hay rolled out in the pasture to feed the cows and calves. It makes my heart sad and my temper burn to walk through the pairs on the feed ground and pick up garbage all during the walk. How has it happened that we have lost all our pride and our respect, and it is somehow okay to throw all your trash out the window. This picture above is all the trash that I picked up out of ONE round bale two days ago. This was just the trash that was right on top. Who knows how much more there might have been buried in the hay. There were two 16-ounce plastic pop bottles, two aluminum cans, a big plastic cup from a convenience store, and a black plastic gallon oil jug. Unbelievable.
My bout with littering was short-lived. I was a preteen, fun-loving, cocky, and believed I was much smarter than most around me. While traveling down the highway with my brother and sister-in-law I finished a soda and opened the window to throw my can out in the ditch. My brother informed me, “If you throw that can out you will be running back to pick it up.” I just laughed and pitched the can out the window. He drove at least another mile (just kidding– he probably stopped at the next approach), stopped the vehicle, and said “Go back and pick up your can. We don’t litter.” I laughed as surely he had to be kidding. He wasn’t. That lesson is a lesson I have never forgotten, even though it was over 30 years ago. What a great lesson it was. I still don’t litter.
I LOVE that I live in a sparsely populated area. I LOVE that everyone here loves the land and are such excellent stewards of the land. I LOVE that our school and community has a yearly clean-up day to help keep our local small town looking its best. I LOVE that our ditches used to be relatively trash-free. This has all changed. Many people traveling through our county are obviously pigs. We have found sacks of food wrappers and bottles lined up neatly on the shoulder of our road where it meets the highway. Seriously?? You took the time to line up the bottles in a neat, single-file line yet you can’t take the time to throw the trash away at the next gas station?? I can’t imagine the thought process that went into this decision. Obviously there wasn’t much thought involved.
Please don’t litter. Please take care of your trash appropriately and don’t make someone else clean up after you. Please take pride in this wide open country you are driving through, enjoy the scenery, and have enough respect for the people living here (as well as respect in yourself) to not use our land and highway ditches as your personal trash can. Just a small request from this ranch wife.