Much of the litter we bring ... is of the mental variety


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That's the hard part: living with the realization that we have junk-filled brains. Much of the litter we bring with us into the wilderness is of the mental variety; past a certain point, our minds really cannot grasp places that are completely trash-free. The Fanta Grape soda can drawing bees in the middle of a supposedly pristine wilderness campsite provokes our outrage and disgust, of course. But underneath those feelings, and less comfortable to admit, is a small amount of recognition and even relief. The Fanta can is us, after all.
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  • The writer is saying that, when we visit the wilderness, we bring a concept of civilization with us that includes a certain amount of litter/trash/rubbish. According to him, our minds cannot fully accept the idea of a place completely free of the evidence of human presence. Therefore, even though we hate seeing trash in the pristine wilderness, we are also comforted by it because it makes us feel a connection to human civilization.
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