The Monocacy River is my river. I’ve lived along many, including the storied Mississippi, but the Monocacy is my home. A little urban, a little rural, deep in parts, but much too shallow in others, neglected, overused, dumped in (and on), ugly as often as it is beautiful, it is home to thousands – no, billions – of plants, animals and people. I walk through it every day, pleased in its averageness, finding places for children to play or dog noses to sniff, taking note of the birds and change of seasons, gathering stinking mud on my boots, and I try to make plans and make sense. What have I done right, what have I not done, what should I have done, what will I do, what are my children doing, what will they do, is there anything any of us can do that will make any difference? Always, as I walk, I pass crumpled bottles, dirtied cellophane wrappers, and shredded plastic bags, tangled in trees, half-buried in mud, and hidden beneath dead leaves and grass. These bits of garbage interrupt me, and, while at first I let them irritate me, I have finally let them answer me.  Now, with my own used bag, I set out to find the trash, ferret out each piece, and actually notice it, acknowledge it, put it in my bag, and leave one small part of the Monocacy a little cleaner, a little more what it should be, a little more itself.  My actions aren’t original, of course, and I’m not a particularly spectacular environmentalist (which a smug part of me might hope to be). In fact, I’m more than a little selfish, because I like to see beauty, and that’s why I act.  It’s in so many things.  Even in the trash. And its disappearance.  That’s what this blog is about.  Finding the beauty in the ugliest, most ordinary, most overlooked places and things.  The trash on the Monocacy River.

21 thoughts on “About

      1. Caitlin Wall


        Thanks for the response! I would love to meet in Frederick at a location convenient for you.

        Are you available on either Wednesday, Nov 30 or Thursday, Dec 8?

        Thank you,



  1. Adam Heifetz

    Thank you for your words and work. I paddle the Monocacy in the early Spring before the water falls too low; you are certainly all too correct-you have to look beyond some of the blight to see the beauty. I look forward to seeing more pics and reading more of your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, just found your blog and many “common thoughts”. We live in The Cotswolds, UK, and have many fine walks around our small medieval village with our river being the Thames only a few miles from its source. Sadly we find trash as you do, but unbelievably some of it is too large to handle ……. mattresses, TVs, fridges, the list is endless. Why do people do this? We are just starting to write about it on our Instagram page with photos of what we find and will blog now too. I hope we can connect in some way with our blogs via mutual following, reposts and comments. Do you have an Instagram account? We are @twodoctors 👍👫

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! I’m so glad that you found my blog! I don’t keep an Instagram account, as I initially imagined my work being anonymous. I may consider it in the future, though. In the meantime, I’ll be sure to follow and comment! I hope all is well in the Cotswolds.


  3. I live by a river, the San Lorenzo, in Santa Cruz, CA and I have a great appreciation for rivers and other waterways that support life. We do get some trash, but a bigger problem are invasive species; such as pampas grass, Scotch broom, eucalyptus trees, and acacia trees. They tend to have a detrimental effect on the greater landscape, and require effort and political will to remove. I don’t know if invasive species are a problem on the Monocacy River, but something to look out for.


    1. Yes, we have the same problem. On my Wildflowers of the Monocacy page, I note the plants that are alien species (there are many!), and I’ve mentioned some of the bigger pests in other posts (such as japanese hops, which are itchy in addition to invasive, and further offensive by producing unusable hops). Occasionally my sons amuse themselves by removing them, but it really is a big job!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Some one else’s trash is a creative process for me. I go on auto pilot and think now what could I make with this, something renewed and loved. I think what you do is awesome.It is so thoughtless and so uncaring of Nature’s resources to dump trash anywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. royalregent

    My name is Matt, I live in an urban area flanked by the Mississippi, Missouri, and Meramec Rivers in the St Louis metropolis. Your blog is so inspiring. I love what you are writing about and am impressed with how you write.

    After teaching English and advising student publications for 16 years I have been looking for outlets to begin my own footprint as a writer. I’m ashamed I haven’t maintained a consistent writing presence. I have been writing across so many different channels, that I have not been consistent in keeping with any of them on a regular basis. My topics are even so diverse that I am hardly recognizable as a professional at anything.

    However I found your blog in my pursuit of establishing my own and was immediately hooked. Though I haven’t time to read all of the updates, I do subscribe and every single time I pause to read I find your writing drips with excellence in voice, style and purpose. Thank you for sharing your voice and thank you also for writing about something so important. It is very, very inspiring.

    I look forward to reading more.


    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. It’s always wonderful to get encouragement, especially from a fellow reader and writer. And to be called inspiring? Well, that’s just overwhelming!

      For a long time I, as well, found it difficult to focus my writing. What I needed, I think, was a topic that allowed my work to be as diverse as my scattered interests. Keep writing: I’m sure you’ll find your way!


  6. You know, I haven’t been keeping track, although I did consider doing it somewhat visually early on. There is a storeowner in Frederick who recently collected, logged and weighed every cigarette butt he found within a certain number of blocks downtown. The number was insane, as I recall, and earned him some sort of citizen’s citation from the the city council. I can’t imagine how many pounds of plastic I’ve collected!


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