…a young girl’s birthday is a special time and we hope you enjoyed yours.

However, we have one request: when your parents wrap a ribbon from a helium-filled balloon around your wrist, please…DON’T LET GO!

Floating balloons are endlessly fascinating to people, young and old. They drift on air currents we can’t see, only imagine. Right before our eyes, there’s visual proof of a fickle wind.

However, Princess, what goes up also comes down.

Those of us who live in the vast reaches of the rural American West are the recipients of this garbage-from-the-sky.

You know that littering is wrong and against the law, Princess. You wouldn’t dump your food wrappers in your neighbor’s driveway, would you? We’re nice people too. We just live further away. After all, just because that balloon is out of your sight, doesn’t mean it’s out of our mind.

Do you see that ribbon your parents wrapped around your wrist? Curious young animals, livestock and wildlife, are interested in things that move, flutter and jump in the wind. Sometimes they taste those dangling things with their mouth. Other times, they get tangled in the ribbon or partially deflated balloon.

But, they don’t have hands to remove themselves from danger. When that happens…unless some kind person assists…the young animal dies. Choking with a stomach filled by indigestible material or being trapped and unable to move makes for a hard death. Something none of us want to see.

For a rancher, when a baby animal dies, it’s like taking money from your father’s paycheck.
Even if no birds or animals are hurt, those of us who care for this land still need to clean the visible pollution caught in our trees and fence lines.

Sometimes, escaped metal-coated Mylar balloons ride the wind until they collide with power lines. Those of us who live out here, if we’re lucky, we lose our electricity until the power company can make repairs. If we’re not, a repairman might be hurt on a call that didn’t need to happen.

Litter is litter, whether it’s thrown out a car window or drops from the sky. We don’t need it, nor want it.

So, Princess, those of us who live in the far reaches of our country have a favor to ask:

Would you show this blog to your parents before your next birthday? Ask them to find some way…(other than helium-filled balloons)…to celebrate your special day. Tell them you understand a flyaway celebration has a cost you’d rather not bear.

If you’d do that, Princess, those of us who live in the rural American West…man and beast alike…will thank you and wish you the best birthday ever with many more to come.

 

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