Prose Poem: Recycling


North Bound BNSF in White Rock by Catherine Robertson


Written May 17, 2017

In our neighborhood I collected the pop cans, as a kid, if I discovered them by the street and took them in to the corner shop and got a nickel for them. If I cycled through the neighborhood and picked up a can I clamped it in the carrier over the back tire. I walked down the trail through woodland to the seashore and happened upon bottles, but mostly I looked for shells and rocks to polish up. Sometimes the tide was out and a stretch of sand traveled all the way to the pier a mile away. One day I got out my bike and thought I would take it and ride it along to the harbor front to collect any cans or bottles that I saw. It wasn’t easy getting it down the narrow steep footpath, where branches crossed and tree roots disturbed the soil’s surface but I thought of how smooth it would be when I was by the surf and could wheel it fast all the way to where the shore met Marine Drive. For a while the space to travel in was wide and when I chanced upon a bottle I put it in the bag I had brought and carried on until I found the next one. Soon the incoming waves had quickly eaten away at the sand and I found myself faced with only barnacled slippery rocks for the next mile ahead of me. I pulled my 5-speed off the beach, up a slope past boulders to the tracks and I led my bike along the Burlington Northern to the main road. It was a long time before I reached the road and a long trip up the hill to home. I was tired and cursing the tide and thinking how timing was everything.

by Wendy Stewart

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