Today, as the snow melts into heaps of grime and garbage, I am reminded of Mrs. Brown’s second grade class and the treasure chest. Buried beneath a foot of packing peanuts in a cardboard box, small plastic victories: a yellow t-rex, a star-shaped eraser, bouncey balls and half-size, sparkley rulers.
The road is unburying its treasures, too–bits left over from a season of neglect. A man throws his soda bottle through his car window, some teens leave a trail of cigarette butts, the neighbor doesn’t retrieve his newpaper, and all these unwanted bits of life are hidden beneath layer upon layer of winter whiteness. Soggy tennis balls lost in November, unidentifiable shards of plastic car parts strewn on roadside sidewalks, even a rusty bicycle.
This junk marks the narrative of our lives so well, and we can unbury one piece at a time, each telling us a story about our neglect, our laziness, or some other moment of weakness when we just let something go. The junk reminds me of the constant damage of our lives, the constant selfishness, that takes root deeper than paper and plastic and soot.