A catalog of objects found in the woods/Dan Schneider

Wrapper, Snickers bar

Plastic bottle, 16.9-ounce size, A & W Root Beer

Paper, unidentifiable

Paper grocery bag, faded to an ash-gray color

Aluminum can, Old Milwaukee, crushed, torn into two pieces

Rope, half-inch thick, its colors: black, yellow, red and white

I went for a walk in the woods recently with my dog, a standard plastic grocery bag, and an intention to pick up any objects found along the way. We walked a short stretch of old railroad grade and the access trail that connects it to town. I began collecting objects on the way to the trail, about 50 yards before we left the pavement.

Plastic bottle, unknown origin, covered with gray paint

Fitted Sheet, burgundy in color (this I left behind, to collect later with my pickup truck)

Wrapper, Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate bar

Tie-down strap, black rubber, one metal hook missing

Label from the back side of a bottle of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, a beer that is, according to the brewing company’s marketing department, “well suited for Hemingway-esque adventurous trips to the Upper Peninsula”

Sometimes, stepping off the trail to retrieve an object, I would spot other objects, deeper in the woods. In this way I found the cardboard carrier from a six pack of Two Hearted Ale (bottles), an empty 23 fluid-ounce aluminum can (Arizona Iced Tea with Raspberry Flavor), and the rusting carcass of a walk-behind lawnmower (which I also left for later retrieval).

Wrapper, Tootsie Roll Frooties, passion fruit (artificial) flavor

Two foil pouches, empty, Mike’s Hard Black Cherry Lemonade FROZEN

Wrapper, Snickers mini candy bar

Paper, unknown origin

Foil liner (from a cigarette pack?), crushed

At the place where the access trail met the railroad grade there was a mingling of objects: those left behind by people passing by on the grade and those left by people coming or going on the access trail. They were scattered in the tall grass and among the trunks of young birch trees . . .

Inflatable swimming ring, sky blue vinyl, broken into fragments

Plastic bottle, two-liter size, “Keg Style” caffeine free root beer

Plastic bottle, quart size, Gatorade Performance Series 2 Thirst Quencher

Paper with felt attached, unidentifiable

Red plastic straw

Recent experiences have caused me to begin looking at objects as artifacts. And to be open to a variety of interpretations about what objects are, how they came to be in their place in the landscape, and why they are significant.

Foil wrapper, Sun Belt blueberry Fruit & Grain granola bar

Plastic bottle, half-gallon size, Gatorade (no label attached, identified by the lightning bolt molded into the plastic)

Plastic bottle, two-liter size, Coca Cola Classic

Plastic sandwich bag

Aluminum can, Labatt Blue Light

I filled the plastic grocery bag in a scant third of a mile of walking. A light rain began falling from the sky as I laid the objects out on the ground next to the dumpster to catalog and describe them in my notebook.

Plastic tub, 16-oz size (by weight), Great Value Light Whipped Topping (“50 percent less fat than average whipped topping!”)

Aluminum can, Our Family brand lemon lime soda

Cardboard cigarette pack in plastic outer wrapping (assumed to be Reds, but the markings had faded)

Aluminum can, 16-ounce size, Monster energy drink

Paper plate

Plastic Dart coffee cup lid