At first glance, it looked like a frisbee, half buried beneath a bush just starting to leaf out in the spring sunshine. I figured it had been lost or abandoned by one of the many dog owners who walk Gib’s Loop, a lightly wooded trail along the Ogden Foothills. Closer inspection, however, revealed a much more interesting story. Lyla, one of our youngest Plikers–perhaps 4 yrs old.–dug the disk out of the dirt and revealed a ceramic plate covered in writing. It was a “breakup” plate, a litany of all the pains suffered in a failed relationship, the author’s attempt to discord the pain from their life and move on.
I imagine it may have been buried in the fall and uncovered after the snow melted, carrying dirt with it. I thought about how I would feel if such a relic from my past surfaced on the Internet, so I won’t be sharing the words. It was, however, a tangible reminder that our trails are a place of healing, and that hikers visit them for many different reasons.
Further along the trail, a live drama was being acted out. The first indication was the glint of the sun on an aluminum pan with chicken scraps around it. An injured red-tail hawk was resting in a maple tree, and a good Samaritan had brought food and water while waiting for animal control. Two khaki-clad rescuers soon arrived, and took the bird to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center located near the Dinosaur Park.
A plate and a hawk, both unobserved by most of the hikers who passed by that morning, unaware of the drama of love and loss occurring around them.
Picking up litter may seem boring, but looking for trash has increased my awareness of my surroundings, and there is always something new to discover.