Thursday, September 14, 2006

paying up

The Nature Conservancy sends me address labels every year in the hope that this will inspire me to make a sizable donation.

I rarely respond to solicitations through mass-mailings. I dislike junk mail and I try not to open or read any of it. Junk mail, junk TV, junk food – I’ve been down that road and I want no more of it.

Maybe it’s the age. On the other side of fifty you look to clean up your mailbox, so to speak.

But the solicitation from the Nature Conservancy is a little different. For one thing, they send those stickers with my address. I use them. I like to flaunt their symbol on mail to gas companies, cable companies and all other possible big-time exploiters of the natural world (and I do not regard myself as a clean green by any means, so there’s guilt there as well). And, were I to throw the stickers away, then a tree would have been plucked in vain.

With all this complicated stuff going through my head, I was actually pleased to move into an apartment nicely situated just across the railroad tracks from the Madison branch of the Nature Conservancy. Today I went in to pay my dues.

You know those great stickers you send me each year? I’ve come to pay up. So long as I have mounting credit card debt, let me add your good cause to the bundle.

Puzzled look. Huh?

Those stickers? You know, with my name, address and your pretty green leaf, alternating with butterflies, on them?
Sorry, not ours. Must be some national mass mailing from the membership drive folks over... wherever it is that they are situated. We don’t do that sort of stuff.

That’s too bad. I live across the railroad tracks. I would like to support your cause and purchase great quantities of those stickers and give you good money for them. But I would like to do it locally. Didn’t I hear that the big Nature Conservancy dudes had some trouble with an IRS audit just a few years back? I want to see my money do its work here in Wisconsin, so that the trails expand and butterflies settle on prairie flowers all summer long.

Sorry, call the national guys – here’s their number...

Maybe I’ll put in some labor hours instead, you know, for the trails and the butterflies.

Outside, the sun is out for the first time this month, it seems. The Nature Conservancy hasn’t a splendid garden outside, but it has a patch of goldenrod, in bloom and radiant in the bright light of the early afternoon. I had my lesser guy with me, the Sony H5, and I asked him to snap up a shot of the bloom outside, as a tribute to the set of stickers I receive each holiday season.

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