I wonder what that genial and greatly missed son of Currow made of those who think nothing of tossing their rubbish into ditches, streams and woodland.
For a man who possessed such a literal love of the sod, who admired the ploughman and the slean wielder at work in a bog, I can hazard a more than reasonable guess.
For my part, I bear nothing but contempt for such filthy, selfish creatures. More on that anon.
Picture it: the last Saturday of November. A thick grey blanket of cloud hangs relatively low overhead on an atypically mild day for one so close to the year’s concluding month.
Crows dominate the skies. Cattle in the nearby fields are suitably docile to near Easter Island-like dimensions. Whatever breeze is present wouldn’t billow a handkerchief, and nearby trees hewn of birch, oak and sycamore are all but stripped of their leaves.
A tractor pulling a full load of soil-clad root vegetables trundles past me as I, complete with my bad of empty bottles and jars, stroll to the bottle bank a half-mile from where I lodge.
Rural life moves to a slower beat than the bluster and buzz of the nearby towns and cities, and may it remain ever thus.
For the great majority of my life, I have had the best of both worlds: the essential amenities of living provided by our urban centres – be it for commercial, social or professional considerations along with the joy of rural living: surrounded by bramble, tree, hill and that most wondrous of sounds: silence.
On a great many mornings of late, a sole cock pheasant, resplendent in his dazzling plumage, has prowled across the lawn to the rear of my home.
It’s shooting season now of course, and such game shall need all their aerial grace to avoid buckshot between now and the end of January.
I’m taken to thinking that ‘my’ pheasant is lying low, that he’s wise to the fate which may befall him when gliding over certain routes. Such thoughts are generally not ones which typically pass through a mind which might consider the lands beyond the roundabouts of Butlerstown, Belmount and Newrath as practically foreign.
This is neither to profess nor claim that country folk are in any way superior to those living in towns and cities, but we culchies/boggers/muck savages, call us what you ‘townies’ will, are certainly different.
It’s fair to say that we love the land that little bit more because our upbringing and what’s been passed down to us from parents and grandparents has given us a chance to do more with the ground beneath our feet.
Yet, in saying that, there are many rivers and lakes which, for many a long year, have been damaged by questionable farming practices which have, by and large, been cracked down upon since joining the EU. Some farm inspections – note I wrote some – do have their benefits!
Upon my return stroll from the aforementioned bottle bank, I walked past some swampy land, particularly heavy with water of late given our recent inundations from above, and my heart sank.
There, amongst the branches shooting upward from roots concealed by water, were two plastic bags of rubbish. I swore quietly to myself about the vermin responsible for this. Dumping rubbish is probably my greatest single bugbear. I must confess that I’ve no issue with someone throwing an apple core or even an ice-cream stick from a car window – after all, one provides sustenance for small animals, the other shall naturally degrade.
But the sight of empty milk cartons, chip bags, used nappies and other domestic waste flung from an open car window or produced from a car boot, fills me with indignation and downright anger.
People capable of this, I suspect, probably believe life owes them something. That they should pay for nothing. That they should make no positive contribution to their community. They’ll crib, carp and moan about their bills, yet think nothing of leaving a few hundred Euro over a counter, be it a bar or betting shop, over the course of an average month.
They’ll leave nasty, bile-spewing comments on politicians’ Facebook pages and they’ll send text messages to radio programmes overflowing with ignorance and devoid of insight.
And they’ll load up their car boots with rubbish, drive either from a nearby town or from another part of the countryside, and they’ll dump their crap for someone else to clean up, drive off and not give a damn about their behaviour.
It’s become politically incorrect to talk about ‘wasters’ in this country. Yet there can be no greater waster than those who dump refuse for others to deal with, sometimes strewn just feet from the front doors of such innocent parties.
When I spare some time to think about such selfish polluters, a multitude of thoughts pass through my mind: I wonder how clean their own homes must be, how they care for their pets and, indeed, what sort of parents they are.
If we are products of our upbringing, then the child who from a young age sees a parent flinging rubbish in a ditch is more likely to repeat that habit in adulthood than the child whose parents separate their waste and pay for its disposal.
That the regular drives taken to dump waste involves infinitely more effort than wheeling a bin a few feet once or twice a week for collection says it all for me. They’re wasters, pure and simple. And they’re the ones that need dumping.