It starts today. The hauling. The dirt. The splashing. The laughing. The tires. The surprises. The grit.
Today, for the eighth year, we go down to the river and see what we can do to make it just a little more pristine (even as we become grubbier). As this is my third year using my Café Time at River Cleanup here in Vermont, I’ve been sharing some of my must-have items with the newbies so they’re armed for whatever the river can brings.
Yes, you’re standing in a lot of water. You’re soaked in it. The walk back to your desk is more of a slosh than a saunter, actually. But that doesn’t mean your body has been hydrated. You’re doing major work during the day, hauling that trash from the water, so remember to drink. H2O all the way.
Your skin does not like to be a lovely lobster red. It does not like to peel and chap and make you all too familiar with the soothing properties of aloe. You may think you can get away with going au natural while digging up tires or scrap metal, but remember this: water reflects. The sun? Hitting you from above and below. Protect yourself with a few SPFs.
3. Good water shoes
Ever seen the sign reading, “Slippery when wet?” Rocks on the river bed take this as their motto. Safety is first at our Company, so wearing shoes with tread that will not take on water and bog you down is key. No rain boots – the river goes above your ankles 80-percent of the time.
4. Change of clothes
Did I mention this takes place in the river, hence the name “River Cleanup?” When your shift is done and you’re ready to get back to work, there is nothing more miserable than being stuck in wet clothes, covered in river mud (trust me: This was my mistake last year). There’s also a distinct river scent that doesn’t quite leave your system for an hour or two. Fresh, clean clothes are your saving grace after this Café Time event.
5. A smile
A grin helps to make everything lighter. That tractor tire? Piece of cake when your pearly whites are showing. That encased grocery cart? Light as a feather when a group of four is laughing so hard at how hard is to move. The sight of five feet worth of scrap metal piled up on the riverbed? Not quite as disturbing when you smile about how you are going to clean it up for the next guy. Smiling – it’s a necessity.
Anything I missed? We’re on the river all week, so just leave me a comment with any suggestions and I’ll pass it on to the team.