Today was my active recovery day, i.e., physically active but not terribly demanding. Spring finally arrived here in New England and the blustering winds of the last few days stopped just in time for the canal clean up.
Lowell is a city full of canals that in the 19th and early 20th century powered the textile mills. (I live in an old mill building overlooking Hamilton Canal.) The Lowell Litter Krewe and the National Park Service and Lowell Canalwater Cleaners collaborate to clean up the canals, scooping up litter with 15 foot nets, sending kayakers in to pull trash away from the brush growing along the edges, and picking up every bit of trash we see on the sidewalks. People from ages 6 to 80 come out on a sunny spring morning to tidy up the city and the camaraderie is wonderful. Sometimes we have fraternities and sororities from U. Mass. Lowell and other community organizations.
I also find something soothing about picking up trash. I'm not making demands on my body and yet I'm moving, bending, grasping, lifting, stretching. And the visual benefit is immediate: the space I just cleaned always looks better when I leave it then when I arrive. That visual tidiness is gratifying in a way that so few things are.
Tonight I'll walk down to the canal I just helped to clean up so that I can watch the lanterns float into the darkness and be glad I was a small part of making this a lovely and livable city.