About four miles out on Cowley Seventeen from Ark City, the road curves up out of the river bottom. For a little while, it runs right along a low ridge. A spill of old gray boulders marks the transition from upper to lower and ends up against the timbers. Riding along the route in December, you might notice a bunch of bare-branched oak and elm, maybe a hickory or two scattered in along with hackberry, hedge and what have you.
Not more than a half-mile north of the curve, there’s a spot where a culvert runs underneath the road from the high pasture on the east to the boulder-lined spillway on the west. I guess on account of its convenience and the steep drop—and the fact that it probably isn’t their property—someone decided that would be a good spot to dispose of an old refrigerator. Always works best, you know, to make sure your trash ends up in someone else’s territory.
My guess is that that old fridge made quite the noise as it tumbled down across those rocks. The most severe rains over the years spilled enough water down through there to shove the thing about a hundred feet away from the bottom of the ridge. It lies there in the woods now, rusted a good bit more than when it first went in, I imagine.
My guess is that hardly anyone knows it’s there. It’s even possible, I suppose, that the landowner doesn’t know. It’s not lying up there on the edge of the road in plain sight. But just because a thing is hidden away doesn’t make it right. And getting away with it doesn’t make you innocent.