Miriam Morris: Lowly tasks and other fun – The Union of Grass Valley

I am one of those weirdos who believes that “little” things can create real change.

That is why most mornings you might see me in Nevada City’s historic district picking up cigarette butts, litter, maintaining several public gardens and cleaning benches — many of them installed by my husband and myself.

I am a ceramic sculptor, so one might wonder why I am not in my studio working. As part of my art practice, I decided it might be worthwhile to put energy into some neglected public areas, incorporate art, and make interesting and beautiful gardens. For the past eight years, I have been working on this pursuit. It hasn’t been easy and comes with many unexpected challenges.

Let me tell you about my morning in downtown Nevada City today. I usually start my work in the Nevada Street parking lot. This parking lot is frequently used as a party and a camping spot. I pick up a lot of garbage, needles, many butts of both cannabis and tobacco, and the occasional pile of human excrement.

I pick up a lot of garbage, needles, many butts of both cannabis and tobacco, and the occasional pile of human excrement.

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I don’t see much wrong with car campers parking overnight in the parking lot, if they are considerate, but often there is a pile of trash left behind. Once I picked up a discarded Red Bull carton in a parking space unexpectedly full of diarrhea. What good aim!

Then I walk over to Calanan Park to clean, rake and garden. This morning, there were several butts under the children’s picnic table, discarded food on the ground, and a giant pile of human excrement on some newspaper behind the bulletin board. I deliberated about getting

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