Tuesday Musings.

close up planner page

To begin this blog post, I’ll borrow a line from a favorite John Denver song:  “some days are diamonds, some days are stones” …

You can liken diamonds versus stones to life in general, or the weather.

In this case, I’m referring to the weather.  Yesterday was just superb, and it got to 70 degrees by day’s end.  My morning walk was perfect, and I racked up five miles with a warm breeze blowing and a blue sky overhead.

Today was not so great weather-wise.   I went out to run the car and decided those few rain sprinkles that landed on my nose did not really warrant going back into the house, so, with my umbrella in hand I set out.  I didn’t even get to the cross street before the raindrops started falling in earnest, so I headed home.

Yesterday’s trip to Council Point Park yielded more than merely gleaning steps and enjoying the ambiance.  It was the first sighting of a painted rock for 2018.  Last year, a new craze was born in many states, but especially here in Southeast Michigan.  People started painting all shapes and sizes of rocks and hiding them around town, sometimes in parks, or often in eateries, malls, office buildings – you name the venue and you could find a painted rock.  If you found such a “treasure”, you could either keep your “find” or re-hide it.  I first wrote at length about being a rock hound in this post:  https://lindaschaubblog.net/2017/05/07/rocky-road/

Those rock-hiding-and-finding-expeditions were the subject of several newspaper articles and a few posts by me over the course of the Summer of 2017.  The fad lasted right through the Fall, with snow and cold putting the kibosh on any rock hiding/finding expeditions in park venues until Spring.  With the late start to our Spring, there were no rocks hidden along the perimeter path at Council Point Park … that is, until yesterday (as to me anyway).

I saw a pink, polka-dotted rock festooned with orange flowers, but I left it there for someone else to discover and re-hide.  I knew there would be plenty of kids arriving after school on such a warm, beautiful day and would love to find a rock that looked like it belonged in an era of hippies, flower power and “mod” art.

Though I followed the Downriver Rocks Facebook group site all last Summer, I’d not been there in ages, until I peeked just now to see if someone claimed that pretty rock I left behind.  Amazingly, not one of the now 37,255 group members had posted a photo of their “find” so perhaps that beauty is still at large, or in someone’s home being used as a paperweight.

These creative folks buy their rocks in bulk at landscape supply stores and get their painting supplies from local craft stores.  Some of the most-recent objets d’art that will be hidden or re-hidden once the pesky raindrops quit falling are pictured below, and you see they range from simple to sublime:

Funky.jpg

Monkey.JPG

Nice art

Jolly Roger

I’m thinking my blogging pal, elementary teacher AJ, might like to undertake this hobby with her class before school ends in June.

Since rocks are the topic for Tuesday Musings this week, I’ll share a gem I discovered this morning.  This particular gem was a comment by Tom Peace, a fellow blogger who collects fossils and is knowledgeable about them.  He has given me some insight into the rock I wrote about in Sunday’s blog post.  All these years I thought the rock my boss brought me back from a trip to Canada was the cartilage of a baby dinosaur’s toe and Tom identified this unusual rock as “an orthoceras fossil, a cephalopod from the Ordovician or Silurian period… over 400 million years old, when Ontario and Illinois were all underwater (in a huge ocean).  Orthoceras was a type of squid with a straight cone shell.”

You’ll recall I had wondered if this fossil was ancient sea creature.  Now, that I know how old it is, perhaps I should scoop that impressive rock out of the rock garden and put it somewhere safe.

I’ll ponder on it … in the meantime, I’ll just keep rocking on, er … walking on.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 28 Comments

Feelin’ like a fossil today.

earth and dove

Unlike last weekend, which was a total washout, this weekend has been perfect weather-wise, just like Spring is supposed to be.  Yesterday and today I caught up on appointments and errands that got short-changed due to that abysmal weather.

This morning I got up earlier than usual as I wanted to go grocery shopping, followed by a walk at Council Point Park.  I was conflicted:  do I go to the Park in the early morning when it is the most peaceful, then fight the crowds later in the day at Meijer?  I decided that grocery shopping had to take precedence on today’s agenda to avoid the crowd.

But first, I stole a glance out the front door to see if I could see the meteor showers which were predicted for just prior to dawn.  Either they weren’t visible, or I was looking in the wrong place as I saw nothing.

I hustled around the grocery store, and after putting everything away, I finally headed out at 11:00 a.m.  I drove to the Park since the car was still out and I had already put almost three miles on my pedometer.  It was getting warm out and I soon realized, halfway through the first loop, I was way overdressed.  I was tempted to go back and leave my sweatshirt cardigan in the car, but I was only here for one complete trip around the Park (two miles), then would head home, so I shrugged out of the cardigan and looped it around my waist.

Just like that last time when I visited the Park in “off-hours” (for me anyway) … it was a different experience.  And, once again, I could have skipped toting along treats for my nutty buddies, as they were nowhere to be found.  Did they hit up their other benefactors since I was not around when they were on the prowl for treats?  I’ll try not to take it personally.

I finished up at the Park, which had many visitors, none whom I knew.  I was happy to discover I had over 10,000 steps on the pedometer by the time I unclipped it from my waistband.  I think that burst of heat wore me out, but I was happy to sit down here and take a load off my feet and right now I sure am feeling my age.  Whew!

Thankfully, I’m not quite a fossil yet, but I do have a rock in my rock garden that looks like it might have a clear imprint of a fossil.  For years I’ve fantasized that this rock pictured below contains a dinosaur’s baby toe that been embedded into this plain brown rock for a gazillion years.  My boss brought it back from the family cottage in Georgian Bay, Ontario for my rock garden because he thought it was unusual looking.  He found it in the water – so maybe it belonged to an ancient sea creature?

fossil2.jpg

Just let your imagination run wild for a minute …

Speaking of old things, and since today is Earth Day, just for kicks, I just Googled to find out how old our Earth is.  I wonder if I learned this in Science class all those years ago and forgot?  Age is relative, and what’s another fifty or so years added to our Earth’s age anyway, because I had no idea that our Earth is 4.543 billion years old, did you?

I hope our Earth stays around another 4.543 billion years, and, if we give it some TLC, perhaps it will.  I try to do my part, even though lately it seems I’m always fretting over my portion of the planet getting battered by space debris, pummeled by meteors and moved by earthquakes.  Oh my!

I’ll leave you with this quote by The Bard:

“The earth has music for those that listen. And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.” -William Shakespeare

Happy Earth Day!

[Image of Earth and doves by Finemayer from Pixabay, Creative Commons]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

Now that we’ve dispensed with flakes and quakes …

04-20-18

The chatter continued all day here in SE Michigan about the “big earthquake” we experienced last night at 8:01 p.m.

So, I was inclined to belt out Carole King’s “I Feel the Earth Move”, having committed that song, as well as the rest of the tunes from her “Tapestry” album, to memory many decades ago.

The sun put me in good spirits, so I settled on “Oh What a Beautiful Morning!” instead.

That song title would be a perfect description of this day.  And we so deserve it, don’t we?

I was running late, having hit the snooze button one too many times, after staying up later than usual watching the media roll out news reports on the earthquake, but I aimed to get five miles walked anyway.

As soon as I hit the trail at Council Point Park, the squirrels rushed over for treats.  Almost immediately I ran into fellow walkers Joanne and Janet and after we greeted one another, you know the first thing out of our mouths was “did you feel the earthquake?”

As we walked along, we compared notes on how it felt and what we were doing at the time of the big event.  Meanwhile, I kept holding up our walk to attend to my peanut pals who were darting here, there and everywhere.  They probably resented I was not lavishing 100% of my attention on them, but they didn’t do too bad either, since I stopped and tendered peanuts and endearments to each of them.

At each pit stop I made for my furry friends, the girls marveled that one squirrel rushing to my side for a peanut, suddenly became three or four of them, all scrambling over for their own treat.  You know I always give them at least one peanut and “a spare” and if there’s a group, I leave two for each squirrel, otherwise they get pushy with one another.  I like to encourage good manners whenever possible you know.

The cardinals were absent during this flurry of activity of passing out peanuts, though I glanced up in the tree, scanning for them, just as they are usually on the lookout for me.  Maybe next time?

The girls asked if I’d seen the nest that the swans were building and I told them “no” so I followed them, so we could peek at the site from afar.  We crept along a tiny path through the bushes so we could see the nest amongst the reeds.  There were no swans nearby and they said there were two swans building that nest the other day.  I’ll have to remember where it was and keep checking for any more activity.  Right now the entire landscape at the Park looks the same … blah and unimaginative.

Hopefully, either at Council Point Park or Dingell Park I’ll see a sight the likes of this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIbBiSBLQg8

All too soon it was time to be heading home.  The bright and sunny morn not only made the birds rejoice in song, it brought the squirrels down from the trees, more walkers pounding the perimeter path, and, believe it or not, I saw a guy mowing his lawn on the way home!  As I passed, I said “you’re the first one I’ve seen mowing the lawn” and with a smile he replied “I’m actually cleaning up the leaves because it’s faster to just mow ‘em up!”  Smart idea, because the earlier you could get done with chores, and bask in today’s warm sunshine, the better.

I forgot my pedometer at home this morning, but my usual roundtrip route to my favorite stomping grounds, and three loops in that nature nook, would have yielded five miles.

A beautiful weekend ahead will more than make up for last weekend’s abysmal weather.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

Was today Winter’s Swan song?

not double dipping

This morning, the weatherman said that as of today, no more snow is predicted for us this season.   I’m happy to hear that it is Winter’s swan song.

Whether we should believe any of the weathermen is debatable, since they all predicted a 1-2 inch snowfall last night. *

This morning I got up and switched on the radio to get my first news fix of the day and the weatherman said “oops – that predicted snow kind of fizzled out.”

So, I gained a bonus walk.

Oops indeed … it seems there are many oops when it comes to the weather, and that is why I told you recently that I wait to see what it looks like with  my own eyes, and then decide whether I will venture out on a walk.

We’re told that cold weather will prevail until the end of the month, but no more snow, so do I dare tuck away the shovel and hiking boots, or keep them within easy reach?

The swans are still present and accounted for, gliding gracefully down the Ecorse Creek at Council Point Park.  This one was in the wider portion of the Creek.

I watched from afar, camera in hand, enjoying the beauty of this bird.

I watched it take that first sip of water – the pause that refreshes.

spring the pause that refreshes

Then a  second sip, equally as tasty.

drink up.jpg

So why not stick your head and neck into the water and get totally refreshed?

no not an iceberg

A fellow walker by the name of Mike told me the end of April is when the cygnets are born and at John Dingell Park there is a cove where you can find swans with their babies.  Mama swans transport their cygnets by carrying them on their back.  I’ve only seen this in pictures before.  Mike goes to Dingell Park several times a week and promised to tell me about his first sighting of the 2018 cygnets, so I can hustle down there for a photo op.  Mike said once the silver bass start running, Dingell Park will be overrun with fishermen, so I best get down there sometime in April for a primo and unobstructed view of the cygnets.

P.S. – *  So go ahead and ask me what’s shakin’ … the weatherman DID NOT predict the earthquake that rumbled through here around 8:00 p.m. tonight.  I had just settled in to write today’s blog post and heard this long, low rumble which made the house shake.  I thought to myself “is that an earthquake?  Another meteorite?  Nah, it’s just a large airplane flying way too low.”  But, my first guess was spot on.  At 8:01 p.m. there WAS a 3.6 magnitude earthquake originating out of Amherstburg, Ontario which is 21 miles from here.  It was felt in all the Downriver cities.  I turned on WWJ and they reported calls from those who felt the ground shaking but no earthquake was reported.  Five minutes later a shallow earthquake was confirmed:

https://www.earthquaketrack.com/quakes/2018-04-20-00-01-35-utc-3-6-5

Those darn Canadians!  I say that tongue-in-cheek, because I am a Canadian myself.  So what is next?  A meteorite in January, an earthquake in April …. I think someone made Mother Nature mad!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Tuesday Musings.

Winter continues to step on Spring’s toes.

Your roving reporter did not drop off the face of the Earth, and it sure felt strange not spinning out any posts these last few days.

The weather has really been nothing special and has wreaked havoc with my walking regimen.

Saturday was a torrential rain from early morning and long into the overnight.  Sunday began with freezing rain.  While the trees and bushes were beautiful to look at with their crystalline branches, the ice brought down power lines and large trees lost branches, or split apart and came crashing to the ground.  Before the day was over, almost 400,000 homes or businesses in the Mitten State were without power, 300,000 of them here in Southeast Michigan.  Many people are still without power as I write this post and temps are only in the 30s.

Yesterday began with rain as well.

I may be muttering about this spate of nasty weather days, but in reality, I feel blessed to have not lost power like so many others in this city and beyond.

It was not back to my favorite stomping grounds today either, because I had a dentist appointment.  I had planned to walk there all along, just as I do for these bi-annual visits.  It is about a three-mile round trip.  This morning, here in Southeast Michigan we awoke to find Winter had returned … yes Winter, the gift that keeps on giving.  The flurries were flying furiously and had already coated the grass and pavement when I stepped out the door to walk to my appointment.  The sidewalks were a little slick, so I decided to walk along Fort Street, which was not so safe, but no snow, and I was facing the traffic.   Coming home the snow had subsided and I could walk on the sidewalk.

My appointment to get my teeth cleaned was for 9:00 a.m. and my dentist always pops in at the end of the visit for a look-see.  I was looking forward to seeing Dr. Kelly, so I could crow about my 1,050 miles walked last year and to see if he accomplished his fitness goal as well.  He is a runner and has a unique way of maximizing his miles in the year.  Dr. Kelly and a few running buddies set a mileage goal that matches the year.  So, last year, they had to run 2017 miles altogether, between the three of them.   The trio does not run on a daily basis, but usually fulfills their year-end goal.  I saw Dr. Jiddou today since Dr. Kelly wasn’t in because he participated in the Boston Marathon yesterday.  Boston was having some crummy weather as well, but Dr. Kelly finished up and sent the staff a shot of him doing a thumbs-up gesture at the finish line.

Tomorrow is a potential walk, then we are getting a few inches of snow tomorrow night, so I’ll fast forward to Friday and a weekend that is promised to be sunny and dry – that’s just great and I can’t wait.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

Blue Light Special.

FINAL PARK

If you recall Wednesday’s post, at the conclusion of that walk I had dealt with snow showers and even a sleety mix by the time I arrived back home.  My fingers were frozen from taking pictures of that Great Blue Heron on his fishing expedition in the 32-degree temps.

Thursday morning I awoke to rain.  It finally cleared up around 9:00 a.m., but it was too late to walk and still get to work timely.  So I decided to walk at the end of the work day instead.

Weather-wise, it was worth the wait because yesterday’s unusually warm weather was an anomaly, especially after the cold Spring we’ve endured thus far.  I left the house around 5:30 p.m. and it was 76 degrees!  I had to ponder a few minutes what to wear, having dressed on autopilot for the last five or six months, donning about nine articles of clothing every day.  Hmmm.  Well, I could eliminate the squall coat, hat, gloves and polar fleece vest, even the turtleneck sweater … the possibilities were endless and I had to scramble about to retrieve something suitable to wear, since 90% of my warm weather clothes were still tucked away here, there and everywhere … I mean, the annual Spring warm-up is usually a little more gradual, right?

I got myself together and out the door and arrived at the Park a short time later.  I don’t think anyone cooked dinner last night, but instead stopped for fast food or grabbed some food to cook on the grills that are scattered around the grounds.  It was a hub bub of activity with kids on the playground, their pent-up energy carried over from way too many days spent cooped up in the house.  There were walkers, rollerbladers and bikers all along the perimeter path.

It was, in essence, a whole new Council Point Park being presented to me.

The peace and serenity of the morning jaunt, was replaced by talking, laughter and the squeals of children – yet, it was good to be outside with the sun in your face, a soft and warm breeze stirring your hair again.

The angle of the sun was all wrong … well, just different from what I am accustomed to.

And there was no one there I knew – human or otherwise.

In fact, my trek was devoid of any of the usual wildlife; not a single interaction was to be had, even though, in my rush to get out the door, since I had no coat pockets, I just carried a store bag where I stuffed some Ziploc bags of peanuts and safflower seeds for the usual pals on the path.

But they went unopened because …

… not a single squirrel came to greet me with a look that suggests “what took you so long to get here?”

Not even Parker.

FINAL SQUIRREL

Nor were my newest friends, the cardinals, lurking about in a tree looking to snatch a peanut from the trail when a squirrel was looking the other way.

CARDINALBIG

The ducks were not around and neither were the geese.  No swans either.  Some seagulls were circling like vultures, hoping to grab the dregs of someone’s dinner.

It was a totally different experience and not my usual walk in the Park.

My trip reminded me of a Kmart “Blue Light Special” … a hastily planned event in which humans converge to enjoy an unexpected deal and ultimately come away richer.

I appreciated the chance to escape at the end of the day, but I’m not sure that I’m richer for the experience.

Yes, I gleaned the steps from that five-mile walk to add to my tally of miles walked for 2018, but somehow the special ambiance was missing.  I’ll try to recapture that feeling this morning … just 41 degrees when I depart, so … if I see a heron catching a fish, or squirrels and cardinals jockeying for peanuts, I’ll capture that image, without frozen fingers and with a big smile on my face.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 39 Comments

Snow showers and serendipity.

HEADER.jpg

I told myself a couple of years ago that I was no longer going to rely 100% on the weather forecasts and cheat myself out of a walk in doing so.  Too many times that Summer, I had listened to the weatherman, or scoped out The Weather Channel, then heeded their predictions for rain or otherwise ugly weather the next morning.  That caused me to decide to sleep in and forego my walk, only to awaken to sun streaming in the window.  Grrrrr!  Since then, I listen to what the weather folks have to say, but rely on what I see with my own eyes instead.

Like this morning.

I felt pretty confident heading out at my usual time, since the predicted snow showers and frozen precipitation were slated for mid-to-late morning.  I looked outside, and even though it was somewhat gloomy looking, it was dry as a bone.  No wintry-type weather was going to stop me in my tracks today!

So off I went.

Halfway to Council Point Park, a snowflake or two fluttered down and landed on my coat.  I thought to myself “well, if this is all the snow they’ve been crowing about, it’s no big deal!”

But, by the time I wended my way down Pagel Avenue and arrived at the Park, the snow showers were fast and furious, and, though nothing was sticking, the perimeter path was soaking wet.  That snow was coming down pretty hard, but I decided I had not walked a mile only to turn around and return home, and besides … there were two other walkers on the other side of the loop.  So I stayed.

The snow was still a’flyin’ when I saw him.

A Great Blue Heron was standing on the cement landing.  I have had a love/hate relationship with a Great Blue Heron for over a year.  All Summer I see him as I near the cement landing.  There he is, standing on those spindly legs waiting to catch a fish.  But usually, once he sees me he takes off.  I’ve gotten a few shots of him but that’s because he was staring into space and not paying attention.

This morning we made eye contact, and he bolted before I could even take out the camera.  Another missed opportunity I thought.  I figured it was just as well, as I didn’t want the camera getting all wet from those snow showers.  He flew across the Ecorse Creek and stood in the water where I got a better look at him.  He was definitely not the same heron I’ve been pursuing for an up-close photo all these months.  He was much larger; the other heron seemed scrawny in comparison.  And this heron’s crest and plumage were more blue than all gray.  I found a tree to go under to give some protection to the camera, then parted some dead brush and zoomed in.

I even took off my gloves to use my bare hands like a hood to shield the camera lens while I studied this beautiful bird.  It seemed he was preening and/or picking at his bugs forever.

HERON PICKING BUGS.jpg

My hands were freezing, the snow showers were incessant, and now turning into a sleety mixture  and leaving big damp spots on my coat.  Finally, he posed for me and I clicked off a few shots.  I continued watching him through the camera, so I was surprised when suddenly there was a flurry of activity.  His body puffed out, with each feather on end, and I saw that long neck snake out into the water.  Look at the wriggling green fish he caught with his spear-like beak!  If you look closely, in this photo only, you can see the frozen precip landing on the water.

HERON CATCHING FISH.jpg

With that prize fish clamped firmly in his beak, the heron returned to an upright position and I took its picture once again.

HERON POST CATCHING FISH

I decided not to linger to determine the ultimate fate of the fish, but to get going.  It was serendipity that I should have continued my journey on a snow-showery April day, only to cross paths with this beautiful Great Blue Heron.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 23 Comments