I’m standing in a field filled with five-year-old boys for A.’s weekly soccer team meeting at the Y. Watching from the sidelines, one might wonder if they’re at the same practice.
One boy hops up and down in a goal. Another steps up onto a soccer ball, attempts to balance on one foot before crashing to the ground in a fit of giggles. A. stares across the field at something no one else can see. (He’ll tell me later this only proves the existence of his super powers.)
Maybe it’s because my eyes have been jumping from one boy to another that they fall upon the trash on the ground. I lean over and pick it up. Six feet away I see another. I pick it up.
When we camp with the Cub Scouts, the boys methodically walk the camp site at the end of the weekend to pick up any debris. Their motto, Leave No Trace, teaches the boys be responsible for the environment by eliminating any evidence that boy (or man) stepped hiking boot on the site.
I walk up to the top of the field and start walking. Up and back. Up and back.
The trash I find is small: A torn corner pieces of a granola bar a mom opened for a child, a white plastic cap from a disposable water bottle, a crumbled napkin. All the little pieces together fill both hands and a pocket.
One eye on the practice field, one eye on my task, the 45 minutes flies by. Much faster, I realize, that A.’s last rainy soccer game.