Use light touch when enjoying great outdoors

My friend convinced me the other night to accompany her to the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon. The exhibition was of prints, paintings and ceramics by David Thauberger of Regina.

Thauberger received inspiration for many of his pieces by driving through rural Saskatchewan and taking pictures of grain elevators, small town diners, gas stations and houses. He then projected the images in his studio, where he would trace gigantic replicas of the scenes he gathered on his drives.

Some of the wall-sized pieces were best observed by taking a few steps back to better grasp the scale of the massive sky-scapes.

We later decided to enjoy the beautiful Saskatchewan sky first-hand and walk down to the river behind the gallery.

We stood on the walking path and watched a beaver swim, as well as the beer cans float by, tossed in by a group of hooligans hiding in shrubs.

It’s difficult to understand those who don’t care about the impressions they leave behind. It is not hard to pack out what you take in, and many people would be happy to return the empties for the bounty.

Then a man and woman walking a Border Collie walked by, and for a moment I thought it was nice that others were using the space respectfully.

But before I could finish that thought, he threw a wine bottle into the river and then looked over at us, as if to challenge us. He was literally standing right beside a garbage can.

Just as Thauberger projects what he saw and then retraces the experience, we also project and retrace the world as we have experienced it. 

For many, evidently, it is still fashionable to buy, waste, repeat — to move forward and not consider how our wake affects the environment. 

I don’t claim to know all the reasons or solutions for pollution, but some things are obvious — empties don’t belong in the river.

Nor do oil and chemical jugs belong in our roadside ditches.

It is the busy season for farmers right now, and producers have many miles to make. Still, please remember to secure empty containers in the back of your trucks, and dispose of them properly.

And while you’re at it, a few plastic garbage bags inside your vehicle could help contain the sundry paper food wrappings and junk mail we sometimes see as we take in the scenic vistas along our country roads.

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