things we go looking for and things we find

The ice has finally melted and walking is once again possible in the ravine and woods and parks without cleats or sticks or fear of sliding down some never before noticed incline.

I go in search of signs of early blooms.

I know where to look for coltsfoot and bloodroot, banks of bluebells and trilliums but those aren’t up yet. It’s mostly very brown and then a sweet surprise among the scruff, a different kind of sign, one that indicates I’m not alone in my thoughts.

For a while the only bit of colour I find is dog poop bags and I wonder (and I’m forever wondering this) what’s the point of bagging poop if you’re just going to leave it hanging on a fence or tossed under a tree or someplace you think is out of sight? (Not a rhetorical question.)

I rarely pick up this kind of litter.

There’s plenty of other stuff but I’ve forgotten to bring a litter bag and so I make little nests of what I find with the idea of picking it up and carrying as much as I can in my hands on the way back.

But it’s soon obvious there’s more than I can carry so I need a bag, and I know I’ll find one because it’s like magic… it’s like the universe is saying thank you for cleaning me… and, oh, I hear you need a bag… here’s one…

And then… presto bongo… there one is.

So I walk and pick up litter and wonder why there aren’t more garbage cans and who are these people dropping stuff all over the place because I never actually see anyone do it…

and then I notice the way spring has this sound, the birds, like they have a whole new repertoire and the light is different and then I see a red-winged blackbird and I remember something I read earlier this very morning in Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek…

about how she was once startled by the hundreds of red-winged blackbirds that flew out of a tree and how the tree didn’t look any different when they were gone because it’s like they’d been invisible in there, and still were… because even though there were hundreds a moment ago, there was suddenly not one to be seen anywhere…

and how this reminded me of the very same experience when I was kayaking one morning when hundreds of red-winged blackbirds flew out of the reeds at sunrise… and just as quickly disappeared…




10 thoughts on “things we go looking for and things we find

    1. Me too, Leslie, that’s what I thought, that they weren’t especially abundant in this area as I only ever saw one or two at a time and not very often. So the reeds experience was just wild. Wilder still was when within moments they’d all emerged, flown across the pond and then somehow disappeared into… I don’t know where. WHERE DID HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF THEM GO??? They hadn’t landed in the trees or returned to the reeds… but for the rest of the paddle we only saw the usual number, one or two here and there… (All of which to say you may well be surrounded by multitudes!) (:

        1. So true. Also in the garden. The things we don’t see! I think of my dad, when he’d say it was the best time of the year because you can appreciate every tiny wee thing in a way you can’t when things get blooming, when it all becomes a different kind of beautiful. He’d walk around looking closely, then sit with a coffee, in a toque and jacket, and look from a distance. Surely sitting is an art in itself… (:

  1. My husband loves to pick up the garbage everywhere we go, and it works just like you say – if we’ve forgotten our own bag, there’s always one to be found!
    And, yes, the poop bags… I don’t get that either. My theory is that the walker has left it with the intention of picking it up on their way back, but then end up going a different way? (I do that a lot, except that I always come back and pick up my bag. Once I came back to find that my bag was no longer there, and I felt bad that someone else picked up my dog poop.)

    1. This is what I want to believe also, that they’ve left it with the intention of coming back but forget. It doesn’t make sense otherwise. So I’m going with that. Thanks for confirming, ha! (And about the litter picking up… yay to your husband! Does he also find the universe occasionally rewards him with a five, ten or twenty dollar bill? Not that I require payment, but I take it as a happy nod of appreciation!)

      1. No, I don’t think he’s ever found money! However, my daughter found a twenty when she was picking up litter with her Scout group. :)

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