Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Sometimes the morality of a situation is stunningly simple.
Only one word kept echoing in my head after I spotted some out-of-place debris as I was walking along the Metolius River in central Oregon, past the Riverside campground near the headwaters.
So this trash was out of place. Unusual. Unexpected. And wrong.
We usually come to the Metolius once a month from April through October, being 1/4 owners of a Forest Service cabin in between the Camp Sherman store and the headwaters.
Most evenings I take the dog for a walk upriver until we reach the private property just past the Riverside campground. I've done this for quite a few years. I'd never seen more than a discarded candy bar wrapper, or such, on the ground.
Staring at the scattered trash, I got some insight into how residents of the Gulf Coast must feel right now, with the BP oil spill despoiling the beaches and marshes. Like me, they're used to the land looking a certain way -- not fouled by human error and incompetence.
I took the dog back to the cabin, fed her, and faced a decision. I wanted to take a nap. But I could tell that I wasn't going to be able to relax until I did something about the debris lying in between the campground and the river.
I found some trash bags and gloves. Then I rode my mountain bike back to the scene of the environmental crime.
Inspecting the area for clues, I was surprised to find an unused black trash bag. There also was another bag with quite a few shredded holes. Probably some people ignored the "take out what you bring in" rule and left a bag full of garbage at their camp site, where a coyote, raccoon, or whatever dragged it away and then ripped it open.
It took me about twenty minutes to pick up the trash. I was meticulous. There were many tiny bits of plastic and paper scattered around. I'm pretty sure I found every one.
I felt like this was a small thing to do for the planet, for nature -- a sort of penance for all the environmental despoliation that I, and virtually every other American, create just by living the sort of lifestyles that we do.
I wanted to find a piece of paper with some sort of identifying information on it, so I could track the people down and tell them about the mess they caused by their carelessness. Wasn't able to.
Gulf Coast residents do know who caused their land, and wildlife, to be covered with oily crap. I can understand their anger, their desire to kick some butt, their insistence that BP had got to pay for what the company has done.
There's nothing funny about the BP disaster. But I enjoyed laughing as I watched this video, "BP spills coffee." Good acting. And utterly believable, in an unbelievable way.