Sunday, May 6, 2012

Archaeology of Aluminum

Humidity Blankets the Flint Hills
I have spent many hours driving the backroads of Wabaunsee County, searching for beautiful scenery and solitude.  No matter where I go, I find an abundance of aluminum cans discarded in the ditches.  If the human race is a deadly, invasive and parasitic infection of the planet, then surely one of the tell-tale disease markers is the proliferation of aluminum litter.  Rather the way white blood cells indicate infection in humans, the density of discarded soda and beer cans charts the decline in any natural environment.

It is aggravating to witness the trash and detritus people are willing to leave behind on land that does not belong to them.  Last week, a load of tree branches, lumber from a rotting deck, and a shattered porcelain toilet were dumped along the county road by someone too lazy to drive their trash to the Pottawatomie County landfill to dispose of it for a mere $6.50.  My neighbors have already cleaned up the mess.  I too have picked up trash dumped in the county roads.  Most of my neighbors do the same.  

Civic groups adopt individual miles of highways, and throughout the warmer months people of all ages can be seen in the ditches bagging the trash tossed from the windows of thousands of vehicles.  Americans have no compunction using their own highways as a giant trash dump.  Everything from dirty baby diapers to plastic bottles full of human urine are found along the road.  Plastic bags and bottles, styrofoam, cans, paper, not to mention plastic gallon containers full of used oil or other noxious automotive chemicals, even abandoned car batteries are left behind.  Broken furniture, clothing, and all manner of steel parts that have broken and fallen from the machines are strewn in the ditches.  I am grateful for the time and effort of those willing to spend a day gathering the trash of those lazy, irresponsible Americans who believe the ditches of Kansas exist as trash dump.

There are not enough people to walk all the country roads even in just one Wabaunsee township to collect the glass and aluminum littering the miles of ditches.  Archaeologists far into the future will uncover a thin layer of compressed aluminum cans from a strata far below the surface and wonder how the North American continent came to be covered in aluminum.  They will never guess it was nothing more than laziness and willful disregard.
Following a New Trail
Prairie Lamp Post

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I keep forgetting to tell you that I think the Prairie Lamp Post is brilliant. Nice eye!