The other day while I was walking down Main Street in Carlyle, I saw something that made me stop in my tracks for a couple seconds.
Ahead of me, stooping over to grab some trash from the road (and if you have met the towering man, you know that it is quite a dip for him to get to the ground) was Carlyle resident and council member George Anderson.
Besides what he had just picked up, Anderson held in his sizable hand a number of other items of litter.
Walking up to Anderson, I asked what he was doing.
"Just picking up some of the trash off the sidewalk," Anderson said nonchalantly. "I do it every day when I take my walks, but I never seem to make a dent in the amount of garbage blowing around."
It was later that day, walking home for lunch, that I noticed a rather sizable piece of debris flying in front of me, so thinking of George and his personal efforts to beautify the town, I took a stoop and scooped up the offending piece of litter.
Within minutes and feet, my hands were full of street garbage, and for the first time I began to notice that there was a considerable amount of garbage blowing about.
Now, to be fair, it makes sense that there would be a plethora of garbage on Main Street.
With the centre medians, the large number of vehicles that are parked on the road daily, and the number of businesses, of course there will be litter.
Some of it inadvertently falls from cars and trucks when people open their doors on windy days.
Some of it blows in from the alleyways and fetches on the curbs and cars on Main Street.
Of course some of it (and I like to think a very small amount of the total) is dropped purposely as litter.
However it got there, the trash is still there though.
With the prairies being as windy as the day is long, that trash moves around, up and down the streets, making a mess of our beautiful downtown.
After a week of picking up garbage every time I took a stroll on Main, I began to realize that a handful twice a day was not going to make much of a difference, so I decided to propose a short term solution.
Speaking with Anderson, we decided to organize a 'Community Stroll Down Main Street,' to take place on Sunday, Oct. 17.
Meeting at the intersection of Main Street and Coteau Ave. in Carlyle at 4:00 p.m. I am hoping that members of the community will come out and join us for a short walk with a big purpose.
I will provide everyone who comes with a garbage bag, and hopefully, by taking a litter-picking walk north along Main Street to highway 13, we will be able to clear the trash from the street enough that, come winter, snow, and the Dicken's Village Festival, the streets will still be relatively debris-free.
I know that this is a short term solution for what is likely a never-ending problem.
With issues like over-packaging of consumer goods ensure there will always be a plethora of garbage available to get away from us and into the streets, the problem is not always the individual.
However, we can all take a little while to pitch-in on an effort to help beautify our community.
The council of Carlyle had recently spent a fair amount of money adding a few more garbage cans on Main Street.
I am certain you have seen these gravel-sided brown receptacles which now stand on the sidewalks down the commercial section of Main.
Even if you don't have the opportunity to come out on Sunday and help with the walk, perhaps if you are walking on Main Street, and you see something particularly large and trash-like within easy reach, you would be so kind as to grab that piece of trash, and put it in one of these new garbage receptacles.
I promise that you won't have to walk very far to find one.
Further, if you do manage to find some time to pitch in on Sunday, remember to bring with you a pair of work gloves.
If you forget them or don't have a pair, I will have plenty of hand sanitizer there to help you clean up after the stroll.
Hope to see you there!