This morning, I walked along the greenway that I have frequented recently both to exercise and for photo shoots. All of the foliage has disappeared and features of the landscape that I hadn’t noticed during the summer and fall are now in full view. It seems as if there is even a difference since I was last here at the beginning of January, but maybe that is only a bit of memory trickery after having been away for nearly a month.

There are some areas, close to the road and adjacent to an interstate interchange, that are nearly inaccessible when the foliage is growing. That is, unless one has a machete, which surely would be frowned upon by the parks department. I wondered last Spring if it was legal to forage on city property. As I wandered in a sandy area along the creek yesterday I thought that I should get that question answered sometime in the next six weeks. Why? Because I found an amazingly large area where there were ramps, one of my springtime favorites! Though I haven’t confirmed it, someone told me last summer that morels frequently grow nearby ramps. Not sure that I would be adventurous enough to trust my foraging skills with mushrooms, but the wild garlic I know by both sight and smell!

But this morning, in the early morning frost that was too springlike for February, it was not wild herbs or vegetables that caught my attention. Rather, my eyes kept falling upon things that had been lost or abandoned in the woods. A golf ball. A fishing line high in a tree. A child’s toy. A mitten.

And then there are the things that have been dumped; the rolls of carpet and the frame of an old sofa off of the old road have been in plain site for months. But this, which looks like it has been here for years, can only be visible during the cold, empty winter:

A lawnmower? A golf cart?

A boat? A scooter?

At first I thought it was a lawn mower, due to its size. I was puzzled, though, as I stepped closer to it, moving the thorny remnants of some plant away as I made a path to it. Maybe it was a golf cart or one of those scooters for the elderly they advertise on tv. Could it be part of a boat?

As soon as I was within a few feet, I realized that there must have been a radio on the dash. Not likely for lawn mowers, I thought. Still, because of the size, I couldn’t quite figure it out. A car would be bigger, wouldn’t it? Do golf carts come with built-in radios?

Is that a gear shift?


But then I saw this:

Permanently set to COAST

You don’t have cruise control on a lawn mower or a scooter. I wonder what happened to the rest of the vehicle. I wonder how many years this has remained here. I wonder how many people it took to move it to its resting place. I wonder if they felt guilty for abandoning it in the woods within feet from the warning signs about fines for dumping.

5 responses to “Abandoned

  1. Pingback: Writing Contest: Abandoned | Four Deer Oak

  2. Oh, that’s quite haunting. I wonder what sort of car it was? Did the people who abandoned it cut a vehicle used for some diabolical (or trivial) crime into a hundred pieces and distribute them in a long thin line down the highway?

    Will we ever know? And which one of us is going to write it?

    • If I have time today, I’m going back to the place to see if I can figure out what make/model/year the car is.

      I, too, have been thinking about what kind of story (stories!) are behind this car. Funny that you should mention cutting it up into tiny pieces to distribute because I’ve often thought that this particular stretch of woods might be where someone might decide to dump body parts. In fact, there was a body found a few miles away along the same creek few months ago and for awhile they thought it was the body of a young woman who disappeared in a much publicized case. In the end, the authorities determined that it was someone much older and I think they ruled it a suicide. Still, I’m glad that I wasn’t the person who found it in the water. Much happier finding the carcasses of old cars.

      You’ve given me an idea, though. I think I’m going to run some sort of contest for the best short short story based on this car.

  3. What great finds. I love coming across remnants of past lives that were not my own. These type of abandoned things are a wonderful reminder of the fickleness of human tastes and the impermanence of all things.

    • Fickleness — yes! I wondered why just this part of the car? Where is the rest of it? When I downloaded the photos, I noticed in one (the third one) that there is something that looks like it could be a part number, maybe even a VIN number. I want to go back and check it out to see what kind of car this was. It’s obviously old, but my curiosity leads me to want to know HOW old.