From the vantage point of the fisherman’s seat in the bow of the cleanup boat, the Charles is a beautiful, wetland waterway in spots, and a bold, wide, wind-swept urban bisector in others. Giant herons sweep down from treetops, feasting on the brief herring season before moving on. Canadian geese herd lines of goslings through the water and up an embankment. Solitary scullers take a breather before passing under a bridge, a man stands by his boat docked at the Esplanade, and asks our boat captain, for the 100th time, whether we’ve caught anything yet.
It was a light day by cleanup boat standards but we still pulled from the water the defining detritus of our city: dunkin’ donuts cups, water bottles, beer cans, condoms, liquor bottles, candy wrappers, 1 flip flop (mens, Teva), 1 bicycle, balloons, plastic bags, 1 shoe (ladies, Blowfish), potato chip bags, beer bottles, and a Blackberry.