A discarded television set sits on the bank of Cold Water Brook in Dayton.

A discarded television set sits on the bank of Cold Water Brook in Dayton.

You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. — Jane Goodall

I took a ride yesterday to one of my favorite spots, which is just past

Harris Farm on the Buzzell Road in Dayton. I’ve been going there for years, as it’s a quiet idyllic area; its best feature is a small stream that passes beneath the road and disappears into the woods. Known as Cold Water Brook, it has served as a source of water for locals for a very long time. I even recall an uncle who lived in Hollis many years ago and had no running water filling his empty milk jugs there each week so that his family could have drinking, cooking and washing water.

 

 

Whoever owns the land has been doing a lot of tree-harvesting there in recent years, as there is always an active pile of logs stacked near the road. Unfortunately, the area is also the dropoff point for trash that people who can’t or don’t want to pay a fee to dispose of.

On a recent day, the ground was dry enough to allow me to get close to the brook on the upper side where it passes under the road, and exits on the other side from a large culvert. And there sitting right in the water was an old discarded television set of the analog variety that weighed more than I can lift and carry. It was positioned in such a way that it partly cut off the water’s flow. That was simply not acceptable to me, so I decided to try to pull it out.

It was hard going at first, as a corner of the set kept getting stuck under a mossy log that spans the brook’s banks. Once I got the power cord wrapped around my hand, though, I was able to tug on it enough to dislodge and pull it up onto the grass, where I positioned it as best as I could so it wouldn’t topple back into the stream.

A great number of unkind thoughts danced around in my head at that moment, among them that actions like these perpetrated by none other than a human being make me embarrassed to number myself among that species. For it certainly was not deer or fox, coyote or crow that deposited that television set in that brook.

I cannot stress enough that we are all stewards of this beautiful earth, and that if it is fouled or violated in any way, then we, and only we, are responsible. This sort of thing saddens me beyond words, as it is totally unnecessary and completely avoidable. And shame, shame, shame on whoever it was who defiled our beautiful Earth in that way.

Some people might remember the familiar television commercial that ran during the 1970s called the “Crying Indian Ad.” It featured the actor Iron Eyes Cody standing high over a vast expanse and weeping to see the destruction of the earth’s beauty caused by thoughtless human beings. As corny as it sounds, that is how I felt that day standing over that remote little brook, and I left there with a heavy heart hoping that someone, anyone, more capable than myself would see fit to set things to right again there.

April happens to be the month during which Earth Day is celebrated. Created in 1971, it’s a day upon which we reflect on how precious this world is, a sentiment that should actually be carried forward through the entire year and not brought to the forefront for just a few fleeing moments. For the Earth, with nature’s help, nurtures us every single day without fail, provides all that we need to live, and constantly renews herself toward that end. I am sure that if we really put our minds to it, we can come up with better ways to honor her than this.

— Rachel Lovejoy, a freelance writer living in Lyman who enjoys exploring the woods of southern Maine, can be reached via email at [email protected]


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