Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Easter Eggs


Cycling in April in central Alberta is both glorious and depressing. We’re outside again–experiencing wind and sunshine, hearing birds, not staring at a screen. All this is a win.

But the sights? Well, that’s not exactly pretty.  As the annual mini ice age recedes, it leaves behind a glum palette of brown-yellow hues, with only the occasional skiff of dirty snow and trash for contrast. In the ditches and boulevards, It’s a compressed brown thatch of gravel, dirt, dead leaves, and garbage.

Nature’s only non-brown April colors come from green conifer needles and red veins of Dogwood stems.

But human-made litter provides more contrasts: coffee cups from Tim Hortons, soft drink ones from McDonalds, plastic bags, beer cans, soggy cardboard, crumpled COVID facemasks, and solitary gloves. Always so many lonely death-posed gloves.

And yet the thaw also brings surprising discoveries among the usual detritus of roadside garbage. Every now and then some bright gem or mysterious treasure catches one’s eye.

Here are a few little nuggets I’ve noticed in the past few weeks, bits and bobs that made me do a double-take from the saddle, stop, and circle back to investigate.

Something about the context--lying on the edge of the road--makes many of the items are a little sad. A bedraggled teddy bear, a high-heeled shoe, a baby's soother. 

This beachball (yes, I've seen two different ones!) looks like it tried to make a run for it but got trapped by a shrub, where it will remain imprisoned until a big wind comes along.

Like actual eggs, road treasures can be fragile. I spied this little toy car on the street near my house, and by the time I went back the next day with my phone to take picture of it, this had happened. 

And other finds are just bizarre. You can't help but wonder, What exactly happened here?

In the coming weeks, some of these items will get picked up by spring cleanup garbage pickers; others might just blow away. And a few will stay right where they are. The grass will begin to green up, the bushes and trees will unfurl their leaves, and some of these little Easter eggs will fade into their surroundings, not to be noticed by any but the keenest eyes until next April.

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