Anyone caught up in the stop-sign conflict on Winnequah Road of a few seasons ago might be interested. Before winter arrived in Monona late this week…

The fifty-degree weather prompted me to pull out the rake one more time before Old Man Winter blew into town. After pulling the stray leaves off of the snow fences leaning listless beneath the spring-like sun glistening off of them, I went to the corner to put them into the piles of leaf mulch a neighbor convinced me to construct this past fall to save the earth. Left to my own design, I would have put all leaves on the curb. Full-Disclosure: the majority of our leaves still went to the curb.

Because it is January, not March or April, the afternoon sun disappeared quickly. Darkness fell as I was finishing with the leaves. That’s when I heard the loud THUD (despite the music blasting in my ears) that was the unmistakable sound of a large vehicle striking something or someone.

In the midst of the holiday fun/chaos I somehow managed to get mixed up about which week was recylce pick-up. So my rather large city-issued bright BLUE recycle bin was out on the wrong week. The vehicle speeding (yes–I said it. SPEEDING as is more often than not the case on Winneqauh Road) past me as I worked to save the leaves for mulch to use in the spring, because that– I have been told– is what a good citizen does these days, had struck my recycle bin and dragged it several feet across the apron of my drive. It was left deposited right where I would have been standing if I had been dumping my leaves on the curb instead of putting them into the leaf mulch piles for spring.

The driver of the car did not even stop. A hit & run in Monona!

After the kids and I used flashlights to pick broken glass (spilt out of the full recycle bin because somehow the weeks were counted wrong by someone) from our driveway–along with all the other debris that had burst out of the bin in an explosion of cardboard and paper–I realized that I was lucky. I was lucky that I was trying to do something to save the earth rather than dumping my leaves on the curb.  How lucky to be doing that while some driver, possibly talking on the phone or eating a meal–maybe reading a newspaper– or one of the many other things I have seen drivers who enjoyed the auto-pilot ease of a Winnequah Road without stop signs before the conflict a few seasons ago doing, struck my recycle can…not bothering to stop. It could have been me.

I wonder if they might have stopped if it had been me.

Monona and I are not getting off to a good start in 2012. Last week a neighbor made me feel abnormal for photographing the lake and this week a driver nearly plowed me down. With luck some of the more positive energy Monona always has to offer will come my way next week.

As for Old Man Winter and the snow that has finally arrived. Even this Snow-Grinch can’t complain when the first major snow arrives in Mid-January.

Enjoy the beauty of Monona under a fresh blanket of snow. Do your part to recycle everything, even the leaves, and you might even save yourself. Drive a little slower. It can’t hurt.

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