I’m being attacked. I’m running and I’m being attacked. No matter how fast I go, I can’t escape. I dodge first to the left then to the right but it’s hopeless. There are too many of them. And each evasive maneuver only serves to move me closer to one of them.
No, I’m not dodging snowflakes or slow walkers or crazy drivers. I’m being attacked by litter on my run around the pond. Plastic bags swirl in the wind. Napkins and crumples of paper roll around each time a car passes. Take-out boxes jammed into bushes along the sidewalk rustle with each gust of wind, eager to be free, to take flight.
I cannot escape the detritus drifting around my ankles, over my feet.
As I run, I wonder who dropped that Jack-in-the-Box bag next to the garbage can. Whoever it was, it’s obvious they didn’t make the varsity basketball team. The crows have gleefully swooped onto the bag, ripping it open, looking for scraps. Surely someone too lazy to put the bag into the trash bin will have left bits of food amongst the discarded wrappers.
Plastic bags flutter as I pass, weighted down by something I can’t see. Don’t worry, I think as I keep running, the crows will get to you, too, and set you free to float along.
I suddenly find myself wishing that I was walking and that I had brought a garbage bag with me to clean up the mess that other people have carelessly left behind, thoughtlessly thrown out of the window of a passing car, inconsiderately dropped as they walked along.
And just as suddenly, I realize another benefit of my treadmill – no litter attacking my ankles.
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