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Buried Treasures 2 comments

I received the following by e-mail from a Handbasket lurker, a.k.a. Katje’s Auntie:

I am forever amazed at the items that reveal themselves as the snow melts. This week has been a particularly rich experience since the snow melted so quickly that the volume of exposed materials was far greater than usual. Anyway, as we were walking (and sidestepping) I spotted a lemon timidly protruding from a snowbank at about the 3 foot level (can we time deposits like archaeologists?). It was bright enough to catch my attention. Fully 2/3 exposed, I had to have a closer look. The lemon was intact, blemish free, pleasantly plump. I couldn’t help but wonder how it got there. It was too far from the garbage can area of the lawn. It hardly seems the type of thing to jump out of someone’s grocery bag. And I can’t imagine one of the local kids losing it from their lunchbag. (maybe it’s something to do with global warming?)

So, I’m curious as to what’s the strangest thing you or your audience have come across this past week as the snow temporarily recedes? I remember the shoes/food items you photographed last year and can only wait to hear what treasures are discovered this week.

Temporarily recedes? Pshaw! This is spring, my friend!!! 😉

A quick snow melt does reveal lots and and we dog-walkers are front-line witnesses. I can’t say that what Freddie and I have been discovering is always pleasant. For example, there is now clear evidence that other dog owners are not nearly as diligent as some of us are about picking up poo. I don’t know how many times this week I’ve rescued Freddie’s, er, output while staring at many months worth of similar output in the same vicinity. One wonders in these moments if such diligence is worth the effort.

One of my hockey buddies commented the other day about a bicycle that is being slowly revealed from under a massive pile of snow on a street corner. The bike was chained to a street sign and then buried under months of actual fallen snow, topped by snow removal snow. As the snow has started to fade, the bicycle has emerged. It is one of these gorgeous new but old-fashioned “sit up and beg” style bikes with big fat white-walled tires, no gears and a snazzy orange paint job. My friend, a bike-lover, railed against the absentee owner of the bike. “Who would abandon such a beautiful bike to the elements? How irresponsible! If I could pick locks, I’d snag that bike, take it home, clean it up and love it like it deserves to be loved!” I’m thinking about taking bolt cutters to our next game in that neighbourhood.

A fellow walker and I were discussing the mysteries of buried snow treasures in the park the other day. She offered up a story about some winter camping she did a few years ago. A sudden thaw happened mid-trip. The campers decided to go for a hike around a lake on foot/snow-shoe. As they rounded a turn in the path and looked out at a secluded bay, they saw an antler protruding up out of the now-slushy ice surface. A moose had gotten trapped, and subsequently frozen, into the ice at the beginning of the winter.

Personally, I find these early thaws to offer some of the uglier times to live in downtown Toronto. Months worth of discarded wrappers, the aforementioned output, and cigarette butts suddenly appear and I find it almost embarrassing. Especially the cigarette butts which I find distasteful and disturbing at the best of times. I rounded a corner the other day to be confronted with literally thousands of butts on the ground in front of a men’s hostel. That is what it feels like to me, a confrontation. Or, more accurately, an affront. A visual assault.  Blech.

What I remember, and what is missing from the urban experience of a quick thaw, is the smell of the earth thawing out.  A soft warm breeze that carried the oddly comforting smell of old leaves, now almost humus, and that unmistakeable scent of the earth waking up. It is probably too soon for that now anyway, in spite of my enthusiasm for this thaw.

What I have been enjoying is the enthusiasm of our feathered friends for this weather. Birdsong is everywhere, including in the parking lot on campus. Given that the parking lot is my least favourite location at my place of employment, it is particularly lovely to be welcomed by happy active birds, chasing each other from tree to tree.

They should probably get all the activity in that they can muster … we still have most of February and all of March to weather. So to speak.

An Occasional Dog Person 5 comments

The planner in me – that would be … me – has been dreading this morning ever since two separate schedules of mine collided. The two schedules would be:

  • the exam schedule at work
  • the dog care schedule at home

I'm a part-time dog person. My dog arrived, after several months absence, on Tuesday. I'm happy and pleased about this. My ex and I "share" our dog, and have for the five years since the end of our relationship. It is a good arrangement – I'll have Freddie until Christmas Eve, which I'm spending with said ex. It's all good.

Enter exam schedule which puts me on campus this a.m. at – gulp – 8:00 a.m. I have to allow 45 minutes to get there. For reasons that don't bear explanation here, I will be staying on campus for some time today. This means that the fabulous Freddie needs more than just a pee walk before I leave. She needed a full-blown run-around-the- park-and-try- -to-find-squirrels-and-meet-other-dogs-and- sniff-the-leaves walk.

OK … walk it back with me …

  • 8:00 a.m. my butt in class for exam supervision
  • 7:45 a.m. pick up exam and other materials at my office
  • 7:15 a.m. leave my place
  • 6:45 a.m. get home, have something to eat, check e-mail, blog
  • 6:10 a.m. arrive in park
  • 6:00 a.m. leave for park
  • 5:30 a.m. haul ass out of bed

Jesus.

I stopped at the Tim-Horton's-formerly-known-as-Winchester-Hotel for one of these. I'm sure I'm going to hell for this, but it did save me a few minutes. Tasted damn good, too. The Wikipedia entry on the Winchester calls it "almost abandoned" … hey … since when did becoming a dyke bar = abandonment? Well, it was weird going in there today. Too much fluorescent light. The only remnant of the old Winchester is the big heavy door.

OK – sun is almost up and I gotta run …

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