Like a lot of people, in the spring, I eagerly await the snows demise and the arrival of the re-emerging ground. Some years, I feel the urge to run out and kiss the ground when it first appears. Also, it is interesting seeing what hidden natural treasures may emerge.

Just as an aside, yes prospectors and geologists have been known to lick the rocks to wet them down to get a better look at the minerals they may contain. Geology is a hand on and rather sensual profession where sight, sound, touch, feel, taste, and smell are all important properties.

However, I have learnt that kissing the ground in the wilds may be a harmless pastime but in an urban area one must be careful because it can be a bit of a health hazard or a toxic waste issue. The same applies to the human litter and debris that may appear. You just don’t know where some things have come from or who touched them last. So, in the city you must choose wisely where you want to frolic or kiss the ground.

Some of the nasty things would include the ubiquitous dog poop, wads of tissue or toilet paper, discarded face masks, empty liquor or drug containers, broken glass, plastic, and cigarette butts, to name but a few. Then there are the various body fluids from animals and humans that you usually don’t see unless you have a keen eye or a black light, but you know they are there. Dogs often pee on things to claim them as their own.

I did a quick and unscientific survey and along the Frame Lake Trail or most city streets, one can expect to find at least ten such items per meter of trail. That is a staggering amount if you stop to think about it. This year I collected up a zip lock bag full of a few of the more interesting things. I do this just for fun as I play at being an alien archaeologist. What would they think about it all?

I found a hand grenade. No, not a real one but a smaller plastic replica of one that was missing its handle. Not a good thing when it comes to hand grenades but this one wasn’t primed to explode, instead the handle would allow you to squeeze some fluid from it to your mouth. This was a sour juice blaster—kid’s confectionery. One finds a lot of confectionery wrappers along with fast food containers and little packets of condiments like ketchup and hot sauce.

One also finds a fair bit of spare change and small nuts and bolts probably falling off bicycles. Along with some bits and pieces of snowmobiles. Horses use to leave behind some fertilizer whereas modern vehicles leave behind a trail of bits and pieces usually made from plastic or metal. I found a couple keys and some sort of electronic plug-in charger. Plus, some batteries from vaping devices, I think.

I found a golf ball I assume a raven may had deposited and at least three soggy tennis balls which I assume were dog toys. I also found several doggie bags, some empty and some full. The question being, why, oh why, would you pick up your dogs pooh, put it in a bag and then throw it on the ground. If you are walking along and step on one of these its like stepping on a foul-smelling squishy land mine. Are these a form of chemical warfare? I found a small but cute metal container with a sliding like that contained a plastic mold to hold three joints. The joints were not included.

A lot of the things found seem to relate to people’s cravings or addictions. Sugar, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, nicotine, and marijuana. It seems there is a war going on between those who want to make the world a cleaner place and those who want to turn it into one big dump. From an amateur archaeologist’s point of view, I do wonder which side is winning.

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