When you stray or sit and take your ease
On heath or hill, or under spreading trees,
Pray leave no traces of your wayside meal,
No paper bag, no scattered orange peel,
Nor daily journal littered on the grass;
Others may view these with distaste, and pass;
Let no one say, and say it to your shame,
That all was beauty here until you came."
I've driven past this sign half a dozen times. I always make Jacob pull over so I can read it, admire the flowers growing around it, and feel the breeze flowing through the mountains. Winding down the dirt road I always ask aloud; 'I wonder who wrote that?' And, I forget I've wondered just as soon as I say it. The sentiment, the lesson, is what always stuck.
This year, I grabbed my camera out of the backseat to snap a photo of the sign, so I'd remember to try and find the author when I got home. Funny thing, I did remember to look but never found any definitive answers. Google said one thing, I ended up reading a story in The New Yorker on a similar sign, and even watched a high school English lecture on the 'meaning' behind it (I assume kids aren't getting outdoors as much as they should be if they need this explained to them).
Yesterday I went out into one of our wild places. On the way out I picked up two snack wrappers, a few plastic bottles, and a handful of beer bottles. This morning I prayed that when I am outside, in all of nature's greatness, that the person behind me would never know I was there.