I was out surveying a ‘linear development’ – this is the term applied to pipelines, waterlines, transmission lines, etc. basically anything that covers a long distance. This meant that I had the pleasure of touring several small towns throughout Alberta instead of just one or two. We made the most of it and visited as many over-sized monuments as possible:
Some of the jobs were along the edges of cultivated fields, and we were given a stern lecture about the dangerous evils of ‘club root’ and the transfer of it from field to field by unwary travelers. My mind automatically associated club root with a club foot and from there jumped to Tiny Tim. Thus I had the permanent image of a little plant dressed in Victorian England-style rags dragging a deranged club foot/root behind him… Turns out it is a type of bacteria in the soil that makes the roots all fat, but it is transferred through the soil so if we walked through one field it would stick to our boots and then we would introduce it to the next field we were in, much to the devastation of the crops. The brilliant solution to preventing unwanted contamination? Space boots.
Ok they didn’t really give us space boots, those would have been far cooler than the thin, over-sized, hospital-operating room style shoe covers we were given. These delightful beauties are designed to fit over your regular boots and tie up. They are miles too long though so they catch on everything, rip instantly and are generally a worse hazard to my health than simply walking. I’m also pretty sure that they trapped the dirt inside of them, ensuring that my boots were fully covered with any sort of bacteria that might have been living within that field.
I still feel that the hideous boots were magical though. They seemed to transport us out of the mundane canola field and into a magical forest filled with overgrown, mossy logs and brightly chirping birds. I felt a little like Alice in Wonderland, it was such a stark contradiction from what we had been walking in for the past hour. As soon as you crossed the trees you could no longer even see the field, the terrain was completely different, even the air felt different. But, alas, it was like all other forests in that it was full of pokey things and tiny bugs trying to stick to my eyeballs – such an abrupt way to shatter a tranquil forest moment.