Friday, July 23, 2010

Happy birthday whales!

We live on several thousand acres at the end of a gravel road, not exactly where you would expect to find trash and pollution. Of course we have our own dump with over 100 years of trash and you can still find bits and pieces of homesteader belongings sprinkled about but overall, the ranch is a pretty natural place. No beer cans, diapers or cigarette butts littering the roads but we do find one very specific kind of trash out here: mylar balloons.

Likely they come from the valley and are forced up and over the Cascades and eventually lose enough air and altitude and end up out here at the ranch: caught in trees, in the bottom of canyons, stuck on barb wire fences or just caught on dirt clods. It's not just one or two balloon either, we find and dispose of between 10 and 15 balloons a year.

When we first moved out here it was novel to find one, a reminder that a much bigger world is not really that far away. Many balloons later we now have a phrase for when we spot a balloon, "Happy Birthday Whales!" So the next time you are picking out a special gift to say "happy birthday", "get well" or "with sympathy", think of me at the ranch untangling that airborne message from the sagebrush and reach for a heartfelt card or potted plant. The whales will thank you.

Caught on a dirt clod in a field plowed only yesterday, another balloon comes to a deflated end at the ranch.

1 comment:

Jarm said...

If you guys get 10-15 a year on that acreage, then how many does greater Oregon see a year?

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