Monday, November 11, 2013

Things you don't see

One of the things I love best about traveling is the opportunity to experience new activities, food, and to see new things. One of the most remarkable things about our trip last week to Jackson, Wyo., is something we didn't see. Let me explain.

A friend who owns a timeshare property in Jackson Hole invited us to join his family there.

Jilda and I have been to Colorado, but we've never been to Wyoming, so we jumped at the chance.

We changed planes in Salt Lake City and boarded a smaller jet for the final leg into Jackson. As the plane began its final descent  after flying over the Great Tetons, it danced in the turbulence from wind off the mountains that didn’t know which way to blow.

The sun was high in the sky when we stepped off the plane to the ground and followed a path of bears stenciled on the walkway.

Our host met us at baggage claims and soon we were headed to the condo.

We unloaded our bags and guitars in our room before hitting the road for some sightseeing.

Normally, we like to unwind after a flight that long, but there were still about six hours of daylight, and the weatherman predicted snow for that evening.

We drove through Teton Pass, which had a turnout every few miles. That gave us a chance to take a camera full of postcard-worthy pictures.

We crossed the Snake River, and I could imagine the trout swerving in the current behind big rocks and coming to the top of the water as we passed to mock me - “You call yourself a fisherman? Go get your pole and your sad lures and I'll teach you a thing or two about fishing.”

That night, snow moved in and we awoke to a pristine blanket that covered the mountains and trees like a thick fleece blanket.

A few days later we had a chance to inch through the snowy roads of Yellowstone National Park where we saw wildlife, rivers, birds and geysers, including Old Faithful.

It was a remarkable few days. What’s even more remarkable to me is what we didn’t see — litter.

I did not see one piece of trash on the roadside, in the parks or anywhere else.

There were no posted signs saying “No Littering.” Of course there may be an unwritten law that says anyone caught littering will have a kidney removed with an elk knife, but apparently it isn’t necessary there to tell people NOT to litter.

I did see a construction worker eating lunch on the tailgate of his truck in a work area. 

A food wrapper blew out of his lunchbox, and he chased it thirty feet before stepping on it with his boot long enough to pick it up and put it in his coat pocket.

I found that telling.

Here at home last summer, I was behind a woman at a red light. 

While we waited for the light to change, she opened the door a fraction and dumped an ashtray full of cigarette butts and gum wrappers right there on the road for the rest of us to enjoy.

I’ve traveled quite a bit, and I will say without hesitation that Alabama is as beautiful as any place on the planet. 

We have lakes, rivers, mountains, the ocean, and a diversified ecosystem that is unmatched anywhere else on the planet.

But I fear that visitors to our fine state won't see the beauty, but all the litter and trash that we thoughtlessly toss because it’s convenient. I'm guessing they'll go home wondering why we use our beautiful state as a garbage dump.


  1. That drives me crazy as well! It tells much about the litterer; what must their house be like?

  2. I hate litter! One of the first things we taught our kiddos was that nothing is ever thrown out of the car except an apple core that can be enjoyed by birds! I'm so glad the National parks are clean for all to enjoy. One of my fav memories of Jackson Hole was taking a float trip down the Snake River. It was Summer when we were snow!

  3. You paint a pretty picture of your trip.
    I can't stand people who litters and people who don't return their shopping cart properly in the cart coral. People can be so selfish.

    What I've observed of people who trow cigaret butts out of their cars is that their cars are clean. The ones with the dirty cars keep the cigaret butts inside. We have no litter laws in our city and there's a stiff fine for littering.
    The sea Cadets and the Boy Scouts pick litter along the Highway. There's a program called Adopt a Highway and each section is assigned to a particular group.


  4. I call litter people he he ha ha people. They think everything is funny and the world is their dumping ground.
    I fear for the oceans hearing about all the nuclear waste they dump there.
    One would think with all the technology out there we would know how to live better.
    Now thats a song for you to write and sing about since you are in the song business.

  5. Rick this is probably my #1 pet peeve in life - those that litter. Makes me so sad and angry at the same time. Some people have no respect for Mother Earth.

  6. Alabama is beautiful. We have visited the oceanfront in Alabama, and we loved it. Unfortunately, litter is a problem in most places, because ignorance has no one specific geographical area.

  7. Ah yes, nothing like the sight of a plastic grocery bag caught in tree limbs or a used nappie by the side of the road....which is all too common around here, sadly.

  8. Anonymous12:17 PM

    Those people wouldn't leave trash on their front porch, but they don't realize that the earth is EVERYONE'S front porch!!


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