LAST January, who would have thought that THIS January we would be trudging through the second winter of a global pandemic? I mean, who knew, right? How do we stay occupied while staying apart and staying home for so many months?

Last year, I spent much of my spare time hacking away at invasive species at home, at the Bernardsville Borough Pond, and at RHA’s Fairview Farm in Bedminster. Armed with clippers and a machete, I just attacked. Unfortunately, my body finally rebelled, and now, I can’t even lift my loppers. My left arm feels like there is a barbell strapped to it. My physical therapist thinks we are looking at four to six weeks of rest. Rest is a four-letter word.

The days stretch long and boring at home, retired, laid up. That’s why when Martin Luther King Day of Service was passing me by, I decided to get up, get out, and do some light litter clean up. This, I can do.

I collected five bags of trash the first day out on Route 202. Three more the next, and then another three.

A warmer day dawned, and I went for a bike ride, and I noticed a heavily trashed area on Lee’s Hill Road. I got my car, drove over, and picked up two more bags of trash–primarily plastic bags, glass and plastic bottles, and the occasional mask.

Each week, I pay for two days of trash collection at my house. But since we recycle, we really only need to put trash at the curb one day a week. So, I will mix the roadside trash in with my household trash, and protect our surface water and beautify the watershed, one white kitchen trash bag at a time.

I bet there are other families who have room in their garbage bins for some collected litter. Just as importantly, I bet there are folks who have time on their hands as we all continue to fight the coronavirus by staying home, taking walks, riding bikes, and noticing litter. Glove up, pick up, help out – join me!

In your local travels, if you notice a fresh white kitchen trash bag on the side of the road, don’t worry. I will be along soon to pick it up.