Yesterday I wrote a little about it the Roman God Janus, for whom the month of January is named. Janus is also the God of halls and doors (“janitor”) and the God of endings and beginnings.
I decided to take my own advice and head out into single digit temperatures and into the woods. I choose a park that is not too far from our home and also one that has a beautiful lake skirted by woods and hiking trails: Moutoux Park.
It turned out to be the perfect place to practice some Janus-contemplation. Much of the park is built on a reclaimed landfill from decades ago. I was literally walking walking on the buried past, being present, and looking town the path to the future.
Once through the reclaimed landfill acres, soccer fields and picnic grounds, I came to a bridge – a physical metaphor for moving from past to future.
Across the bridge is a beautiful lake and woods that most people in Evansville don't even know exists.
Sadly, many of the ones that do visit are uncaring, trash heaving pigs. The lake, the paths around the lake and the woods are full of litter. I've gotten so used to seeing sights like this that I carry a trash bag to “hike in / carry out.” My one bag is a mere tip of the trash-berg, but it's the best I can do.
Upon returning home, I contacted the city Parks Department and volunteered to go out in the parks form time to time and bag trash. All I needed from them was a direct number that I could call to inform city workers (paid in with our tax money), so they could go haul out the bags and dispose of them properly.
The reply shocked me (from the email I received from the Executive Director of The City of Evansville's Parks and Recreation):
The DPR welcomes the opportunity to provide our community the ability to volunteer within our city park system. I have attached three documents that must be completed before the workday will be scheduled. Form 1 must be signed by each individual volunteer in order to be eligible to work. The second and third forms are informational documents that must be completed and on file for the project. DPR requires all volunteer groups to begin and finish all projects within the normal working days/hours of our union staff.
Note: These forms shall be received no later than two weeks in advance of the scheduled project date. If not, the project will not approved.
Talk with you soon.
partner in parks,
(name) Executive Director
- - -
One of the forms I must fill out to volunteer contains words such as “the undersigned” and “hereinafter referred to as volunteer” and “desires to perform a civic duty for the City of Evansville and its citizens without promise, expectation or receipt of compensation or reimbursement for services rendered.”
What the F? All I want to do was pick up a few bags of trash every once in awhile and be assured that the bags will be disposed of properly – basically to do most of their job for them for free!
I will contact the director again on Monday and see if there is a simpler, non-formal agreement that we can work out.
In the meantime, there's a lot of trash out there from the past that must be cleaned up in the here and now. Hopefully future hikers will take only a photo and leave only a footprint.
Oh, if I get thrown in jail or fined for performing a “civic duty” without filling out all the proper paper work, will you help me out?
Sir Bowie “Janitor of my own life and trying to be a volunteer Janitor of our parks” of Greenbriar