I finally got my lazy ass out to clean up Assabet River last Saturday, HUGE thanks to Greater Boston Regional Contact and MY HERO Robin Schulman, who's been organizing Women Outdoors members to come clean up this gorgeous swath of H20 for a few years now.
You have to love river cleanups. It gives us a whole new level of appreciation for the items that people choose to donate to the river's mermaids and mermen. Volunteers this year found a practically new kid's bike, a scooter, a sewer grate (too heavy to move!), some plastic palettes that the river's vegetation has already integrated too much to move [vines and roots are a strong embrace), and my favorite, a CAR!!! (I wanted to photograph it, but they found it in a location far from where we were cleaning [which was in Maynard, Ma.]).
Past years, the organizers told me, turned up a gun and a safe (empty).
Can you imagine the stories behind all this stuff? Did some bullies pick on a kid and toss his bike into the river? Was there a heist, or did somebody just get really tired of material possessions and decide to donate it all to charity, then throw their safe in the river?
In other words, anybody who's ever entertained the thought of becoming a mystery writer should do a river cleanup.
I wasn't kidding when I referred to a lazy part of my anatomy. I'd never get motivated to get out and do this good environmental stewardship work without the encouragement of Women Outdoors members like Robin, and I sure as heck wouldn't have as much fun doing it without bumping into other WO members hard at work.
Not only do you get motivated and have fun when you do this kind of work, not only do you give back to the outdoors that we all love so much, you also get inspired.
For example: Robin, a professional bike mechanic, took one look at the bike, covered with streaming river weed, and said "Hey, this hasn't been in here for long. I could fix it up."
It would take at least 5 hours to restore the bike, Robin estimated, and that's precious time that's hard to find in a working woman's life. She had a brilliant idea, though: Restore it and auction it off, to call attention to the work of OARS, the organization that holds the cleanup.
Will it happen? Who knows? But it's great to be out on a fall day, restoring a riverbank, and watching the creative juices flow. I hope you're all enjoying the fall, and I hope you find time to do some cleanup work.
And to all of you who regularly get outside and get yourself dirty as you do this type of environmental stewardship work, Women Outdoors sends out a hearty, sincere Thank You.