Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pretty, not so pretty

Whenever I talk about the river to people, I try to give equal parts of positive and negative. If I'm complaining about litter and talking about clean-ups, I also try to emphasize the beauty and wonder of the river and the environment in and around it, and the people I get to meet out there.

Last Sunday we had an lovely day, cool and clear, for August, which around here is known for being pretty hot and humid.

Photo above:
The gates close behind us as we lock up river, leaving the Morgantown harbor to clean up litter above the dam.

So, that's the theme here. Beauty and the beast. Beauty first. I don't understand some people who run up and down the river at full throttle, causing a big wake and lots of noise. Especially those on jet-skis. I guess if I were young that's what I'd do, but I'd miss a lot. Like the flowers. Always in the spring and summer there are flowers and trees blooming on the river banks.

Photos right and below: I don't know what these are called. They are all over the banks during August.

I wish I knew more flower names. I spend way too much time playing the banjo, I guess, or I'd learn something useful.

In the spring, the black locust blooms, white flowers like bunches of albino grapes cascading from the early spring yellow green leaves and scenting the air with perfume.

I wanted to get a photo of a bright red flower that's blooming now -- a tiny thing I've heard called Indian's paintbrush. I'll try again next weekend.

So, that's the beauty. Here's the beast: Well, this pretty little pink flamingo (below) is nice. It was in the litter we found along the west bank just above the lock.

This is all material that was caught by the Morgantown dam, then floated upriver, ending up in a pile along the shore.I'm happy to say we've very nearly eliminated most of it in this particular location.

It's hard work and pretty boring, but we love the "before and after" effect. Maureen and I were pretty tired when we finished this area, having moved 17 bags of litter, picking up each bottle, can, cigarette lighter, cup, ball individually. And DEP bags are very large. So, it's gone now and the osprey flying overhead says, "Hey, down there, thanks a lot: I live here and it looks so much better now." Also, if you go down to the river in the Morgantown area much, you'll notice it's pretty litter free. Well there's a resaon for that. I don't think you'll find it to be so in many other areas.

One other thing: Please join the Facebook cause.

1 comment:

  1. Tim, as usual, nice photos here! ... The purple-ish flowers you show are call "argeratum". These are the wild ones; there is also a domesticated version that people pay $$ for. The red flowers you are seeing may very well be cardinal flowers--I have them in the wet, low spots in my pasture. They grow on tall stalks, a dozen or so flowers per stalk, bright scarlet red, tubular shape, with very noticeably white stamens inside... ok, Im a flower nerd... anyway, thanks for the lovely pics!


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