It was a beautiful blustery September morning a week ago Saturday at Weed Beach (and Pear Tree Point) when the Choose to Reuse group, spearheaded by Sandy Filmer, joined with a group of non-related volunteers for the International Coastal Cleanup day.
It is amazing to me (and probably you as well) how people can be so cavalier about their garbage when there are rows of garbage cans waiting to be filled. Still the garbage is there — coffee cups, beverage cans, balloon strings, the ubiquitous plastic bags, even some yellow “do not cross” police tape and a broken oar someone had tossed up into the rocks.
I could go on and on but you have all seen it or maybe you are just inured to it? Walking and listening to the soothing sound of the water against the shore and rocks, reminded me again of how lucky we are to live in such close proximity to a coastline, and it was heartening to have people thank us as we filled our garbage bags — a job where less would definitely be more.
Leaving with the spirit of all that we should do to help, I drove to Stop & Shop and on the way saw the girls’ high school volleyball team at The Depot hosting a car wash to help their team. How great that the young people in this town are so community spirited and self-reliant. Let’s hear it for the teen generation, our future leaders, and the fact that they are learning the merits of giving up their time!
On my way home I stopped at my favorite private gardens — the Negron’s house on West Avenue. I never leave without something in my pockets, seeds, seedlings, something edible from their gardens. They have grown banana trees that actually got bananas — local bananas? Totally unexpected. And now they’ve added coffee beans and a pineapple that would be perfect for pina coladas in the evening.
Their son, Jeff Negron, raised and educated in Darien, inherited their love of land and gardening and is now considered the “garden guru” for Hampton residents and restaurants.
He realized his passion for healthy, locally grown produce and launched his kitchen garden design and management business in 2009, providing produce to individuals and restaurants, exposing more people to the joy of pesticide free vegetable gardening. If you’ve ever dined at Nick & Toni’s in East Hampton, Estia’s Little Kitchen in Sag Harbor, or Southfork Kitchen in Bridgehampton, and commented on how great the food was, Jeff’s organic provisions are part of the reason.
So now it’s Saturday night, the beaches are clean, cars are clean, groceries bought, friends and gardens visited, and there is still time (and daylight) to relax and enjoy the balmy weather of late summer in the solitude of our own back yards — bliss!
Nanci Natale is a lifelong Darien resident, photographer, poet, accomplished gardener, cook and artist. Her poetry has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Bellowing Ark and others publications.