Trash on the Trail

Near one end of the blue-blazed Ridge Trail at Ramapo Reservation there is a short side trail to a rock outcropping with a scenic view. The view is toward the southeast, and the Manhattan skyline is visible on the horizon when the weather is sufficiently clear. We stopped there on a recent hike.
This overlook is easily reached from the nearby parking lot. The trail is wide and well traveled and the climb is not strenuous. As one might expect, this helps make it a popular spot. We saw evidence of a recent campfire and, sadly, we saw other evidence of its popularity.
Someone had brought a carry-out meal in a Styrofoam container, consumed part of it, and left the rest, in the container, sitting on the rock. Apparently it was easy enough to carry the meal up to the lookout but too difficult to carry the remainder back down to a garbage receptacle. Several empty snack-food bags were also left on the ground at the overlook.
I clucked my tongue with disappointment and a little bit of outrage, but that was all. I contented myself with my self-righteous outrage and headed down the trail. Meanwhile, as I discovered a few minutes later, my backpack held a plastic grocery bag that I could have used to gather and cart out the litter. But I did not make the effort to see if I had something that could be used for that purpose.
There are many phrases in circulation to express the notion that we who are capable of doing something to correct an injustice should do so. “If you can, you should.” “If you see something, say [or do] something.” “If not you, who? If not now, when?” “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (The last is the popular rendition of a quote whose origin is uncertain.) On this occasion, sadly, I did nothing. Maybe next time I will be a bit more responsible.

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