The last time I posted photographs of the things I find on City of Milwaukee sidewalks, it was December 2012. Here’s a year’s worth, from New Year’s Day 2013 through New Year’s Day 2014.

Last year I found several remnants of New Year’s Eve strewn about Milwaukee’s East Side, which is Party Central every weekend of the year but especially on December 31st. I’m always curious how something like the inside of someone’s shoe ends up on a sidewalk.

The spray-painted carp can be found in several places around the East Side. They travel in groups; there’s never just one. The “R” had fallen from the marquis of the Oriental Theater on Farwell. I picked it up and moved it by the front door; it was heavy, like iron. There was no dead body or dried pool of blood nearby.

Spring in Milwaukee usually lasts one month; two if we’re lucky. Most years we jump straight from winter into summer.

The sidewalks dry up. The salt flies away. Plants and flowers pop up through any opening the sun coaxes them through.

Summer sidewalks make a perfect canvas.

Milwaukee falls generally last longer than Milwaukee springs. Leaves make pretty patterns and get tangled up with lost or discarded things.

One of the funniest things I found on the sidewalks in 2013 is a white piece of paper with the words “Large” and “Wealthy” handwritten on it. I generally leave the things I find on the sidewalk on the sidewalk. Unless it’s money. “Large” and “Wealthy” was just too rich to leave behind. It’s on my dining room table right now.

At the tail-end of fall, we Milwaukeeans hang on to every little bit of good weather we can. We pay tribute to happy, flowery days in chalk. Bees are at the end of their life cycle. They no longer fly. They crawl, looking for warm spots on the concrete before they die.

If anyone ever tells you that Gummi bears and the like never spoil, they are wrong. A Gummi worm lay on the sidewalk near our place for two weeks, and two things about that were amazing to me: first, that no one stepped on it and smooshed it, and second, that it turned jet black exposed to the elements. After three weeks or so it looked like a skinny dog turd. Try explaining that to the young guy who passes by as you’re taking a picture of it.

Fall 2013 in Milwaukee lasted less than one hot minute. It got cold in early October and it’s been cold ever since. On a minus-17-degree day John and I bundled up and took an hour-long walk just to see what it would be like. Our knees were frozen in 15 minutes. The sidewalk outside a small building of condominiums was lined with ten or so discarded Christmas trees, still looking green and fresh. My iPhone was not capable of capturing all them lying in a row, waiting to be picked up for, we had hoped, recycling. So imagine the row of them continuing past your left shoulder.

The confetti was scattered all over the footbridge just north of Winsdor on Prospect. Every week a little bit more of it blows away.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2014.


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