When the Virginia Company sent John Smith, Christopher Newport, Thomas Dale and the rest of their cohort to the New World in 1607 it wasn’t to settle Jamestown or Williamsburg. No, their mandate was to initiate trade and that’s why they traveled up the James River to the present day site of Richmond. The Falls of the James River where Richmond is located was where Chief Powhatan had a large settlement and the “Indians” were already trading among themselves. They came for the same reason the great bank robber, Willie Sutton, said he robbed banks, “That’s where the money was.”
Jump forward a hundred years or so to the 1740’s and George Washington surveyed the Kanawha Canal from the falls all the way up river to present day Lynchburg. The purpose of the canal was to make it easier to bring goods to market.
Eventually, the canal’s towpaths became the rail beds for what has become today’s CSX Railroad.
Walk outside our offices and cross the street and you’re at the nation’s only triple crossing where three rail lines cross over each other. You can walk along the canal or cross over to the river and at this time of year watch dozens of blue herons nesting in the trees along the river’s banks or the peregrines, hawks and eagles soaring overhead looking for dinner.
All in all it’s a wonderful place to take a stroll and refresh your creative batteries.
Which is why at the moment I am so damned angry.
I had to walk uptown to a meeting yesterday and decided to use the canal path. As I was walking along I noticed a piece of trash and stooped to pick it up. (My mother is smiling right now. She’s the one who taught me this particular piece of good citizenship.) My intention was to throw it in a trash can. As I searched for a trash can I noticed another piece and another piece and I was getting really ticked off with the thoughtlessness of people littering this beautiful piece of our heritage.
A couple of ladies walked past me and complimented me on picking up the trash.
I wound up with a nice little collection of cups and wrappers and what not.
This was when I really started to burn. I could not find a trash can.
I wound up walking from 15th and Canal all the way to 12th and Byrd and from there under the Downtown Expressway and all the way to The Tobacco Company at 12th and Cary in Shockoe Slip before I found a trash can.
I am angry with the people who dropped their trash, but I am no less angry with our Mayor and the rest of the inattentive people who have not placed trash cans along this beautiful stretch of our city.
I normally end these blogs with some little pithy reference to Catching Your Limit, but at the moment I’m up to here with people who for whatever reason can’t seem to work together for our common good.
People, work with me here. Dispose of your trash properly, even if you have to carry it five extra blocks.
AND one last thought. Your Honor, it also wouldn’t be a bad idea to put public bathrooms in this area.
><(("> Gayle Turner
Gayle is a ><(("> Team Member at Catch Your Limit, a consulting firm headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. To learn more, visit www.catchyourlimit.com.