One thing the ancient monks, hermits, eremites, Essenes, ascetics, anchorites and Hesychasts did not have to contend with was litter. In particular, empty beer cans. But we do, I do.
(Though I suppose if I abandoned my pursuit of worldly glory and moved to a rocky outpost in mid-ocean, I would be litter free. Except for the occasional sighting of those flotillas of rubber ducks that fall off container ships and then endlessly circumnavigate the globe, teaching us much about thalassic currents.)
Unless you count the piles of date pits, and the carapaces of locusts.
No, litter is definitely a problem of the here and now, of our too much stuff wrapped in too much packaging.
Almost every day the dogs and I take the same walk. We exit the backyard through the rusty gate, hypotenuse across Draper Park, take the short cut past the cement picnic table, through the overhanging vines and poison ivy, along the esker that forms the southern border of the former marble quarry, past the fallen log so illogically popular with trysters, and out onto the Old Croton Aqueduct. On another occasion I will write of the detritus to be found beside the Popular-with-Trysters log, but now I will lament the debris of partyers at the cement table. All those empty beer cans, cigarette butts and assorted plastic wrapping. It depresses me every time I come up this evidence of...what? Callous indifference? Laziness? Stupidity? There are several nearby garbage bins, so there is so rational excuse.
Yesterday I collected 8 cans of Bud Lite and 2 cans of Red Bull and 3 bottles of Miller Lite and 1 bottle of Corona. Which might lead me to draw certain conclusions about the alcoholic preferences of the litterers. But then, also carelessly tossed into the underbrush, there was an empty bottle of a rather decent Argentinean Malbec. All my preconceived notions and stereotypes were dislodged. And I am left with what?