Contrast

Glittering waters trickle over jagged edged rocks resting on the creek bottom.  Sunlight breaks through the clouds, a respite from the overcast threatening to pour spring rains but refusing to drop from the darkened sky.  Graffiti randomly spoils the otherwise blank canvas of the concrete pillars supporting the simple bridge above, columns temporarily disrupting the natural flow.  The roar of a lone car driving over this bridge drowns the sound of rustling leaves in the wind.  A light clanking soon joins the disorder of sounds, produced from an aluminum soda can casually tossed from a passenger in the now unseen car.  Dents mar the can’s structure as it bounces along the pavement toward the guardrail, to which it collides and hurtles over the edge to plop in the creek below.

Carried by the lazy current, the soda can begins a slow journey of solitude past trees and shrubs, weeds and insects, flora and fauna.   No eyes to see nor ears to hear, only a senseless object devoid of life floating naturally along a country creek.  It is only a can that is incapable of thinking or awareness, yet somehow it knows it does not belong in the presence of resting frogs and brilliant orange blooms.  The shiny artificial paints covering the aluminum somehow seem lackluster and plain in this new environment.  New dents and scratches from drifting over rocks and colliding with stray branches give a sense of fragility; even the tab near the opening has been detached and lost near an abundance of soft gray clay.

Darkness descends as nighttime arrives and the soda can stops in a shallow sandy embankment.  Stars are visible briefly between clouds before the landscape is completely shadowed from the incoming storm.  Distant clashes of lightning and thunder arrive to the creek.  Strong winds assist in breaking branches and creating current.  No raindrops yet to raise the water’s depth but only moments till the first.  Vibrations pass through the ground from a great thunder-clap and the winds push a branch onto the can.

The aluminum caves from the sudden pressure and tears the length of the can.  Fresh raindrops clatter inside, increasing in amount with each passing minute until the environment is drenched in a downpour nearly as heavy as a waterfall.  The wounded soda can soon submerges beneath the large current and rapidly increasing water depth, where it is covered by sediment that is unable to surpass the fallen branch.

Buried and invisible now, one could question the existence and presence of this can.  Had it really only a day before been filled with bubbling soda?

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