Signs of this Spring

David Again and Again

In the dry-dogshit-brown days of an Edmonton April, election signs do the work of daffodils and tulips. If signs were votes (they are not, previous campaigns have cruelly taught him), the irrepressible Mr Eggen might rule the world.

Destitute Widow Seeks…

I’d be wary of a political party that claimed for its name a symbol belonging to everyone in the province. The Wildrose Party has not done this. Alberta’s floral emblem is the wild rose, while the Wildrose is a crudely drawn pink cartoon. No relation at all. Whew. But if the upstart party’s name were Wild Rose, I might share a cautionary experience. When we had an empty back yard needing lots of cheap shrubs, we pulled up a few wild roses (somewhere out in the wild) and brought them into the city. They grew fast and tall. In three years, we were dodging vicious brambles en route to the garage. If Sleeping Beauty’s castle had been guarded by Alberta roses, she’d be asleep still. The plants put out a few pallid, brief flowers, not needing to produce much seed where the growing conditions were so lush. The pursued a far easier expansion strategy — sending suckers under the sidewalk and then under the fence. We were soon hacking down canes and digging up thick, far-reaching roots. At the time, the popular weed-metaphor that described the proud common-folk was “grassroots,” but “wild rose roots” would have conveyed the same idea: blindly voracious, ineradicably noxious. Years later, we are still ripping out the suckers. I don’t know about the Wildrose, but the wild rose — beautiful when growing where it belongs — offers nothing for the enhancement of civilized living.

Help for the Unimaginative

When the airport land has been converted to a residential neighbourhood, I will miss these hilarious billboards. “Imagine the possibilities…” they say, but they don’t think you are capable of imagining anything. “Imagine sustainable transportation,” but in case you can’t, here’s a picture of the LRT. “Imagine urban living,” and to help you, look at this apartment building. “Imagine open spaces,” but don’t hurt your brain, because here’s — but the picture is redundant. The sign is standing at the edge of an airport. Look beyond it. What do you see?

Open spaces.

“Transforming Edmonton,” claims the slogan at the bottom, decorated with a magical-looking triangle. Don’t worry, though. Whatever possibilities you might have managed to imagine, the pictures are here to assure you that it’s all going to be more of the same. Same Edmonton, only a bit more of it. Relax.

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