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Out of Place

August 12, 2004

How did this happen? How did parts of a car end up in the woods? It might have been a whole car once, driven off into the forest and abandoned there, left for the squirrels and raccoons to strip it for parts. We tend to foist our old cars off on family and friends, but maybe if there were woods nearby we’d change our tactics. Or it could be that an artist dragged these rusted sections out into the trees to express something that I’m obviously not grasping. Regardless of how it got there, the car is out of place.

This fire hydrant is, too. It was not at all what I expected to see when hiking up along a river to try and catch a glimpse of Mr. Karen kayaking. Had a planned development fallen through? Had the water department misread the location on the installation order? I was intrigued enough to take a picture of it, but when I went to find that image to use here, I couldn’t. I found the rest of the pictures from that roll–either in the album or in the discard pile (which I keep around because you know, sometime I might want to do something with those pictures, too, like a collage or um, something)–but not that one. I thought I might have pasted it into one of my paper journals, but it didn’t turn up in the last several volumes (though I did find another picture I’d been looking for because I might want to use it as the basis for a quilt, so that part of the search process wasn’t entirely fruitless). After spending entirely too much time looking for it, I decided to just order a reprint. Let the photo lab techs wonder about the lady who wants of a photo of a fire hydrant instead of any of the whitewater shots on the rest of the roll.

And then there’s the boat I used to drive by on the way to work. That’s not that unusual, given that my commute took me through the county of too many lakes, except this boat was in the grass next to a Wal-Mart parking lot. How did that happen? I can see someone just not wanting the boat any more, but not sure why they would abandon it next to Wal-Mart, especially next to a fairly busy road where people could observe one littering on a grand scale. Maybe it wasn’t abandoned when it first got there. Maybe it had a “for sale” sign on it–you’d want to put that in a fairly high traffic area. Or maybe it was a prank. “Let’s move Frank’s boat–it’ll be so funny when he goes to Wal-Mart and sees it sitting there!” Except Frank went to Kmart instead or was just happy to get the insurance money for the stolen craft and buy a new one.

Sometimes things end up out of place by accident, like the puzzle piece on the sidewalk outside of the restaurant where we had brunch on Sunday. Some child is going to be sad when she can’t complete the picture. At least the cute little dog is still looking on the bright side. Or maybe it wasn’t an accident. Maybe the child whose puzzle this is flung the piece to the ground deliberately, protesting the distortion of innocent canines in commercial culture. Puppies don’t have rosy cheeks, after all, nor do they wave like that.


This has been one of a series of Random Acts of Journaling.


One year ago, I wrote nothing.

Two years ago, I wrapped up a trip report.

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