Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.
FIFTY FAVORITE PARK PHOTOS
Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.
I know the phrase “Kodak Moment” will sail right over your head unless you’re of a certain age. I’m sure many of you have never had the occasion to use a Kodak camera or film, let alone sent your roll of precious memories to Kodak’s processing plant in Rochester, New York, then checked your mailbox two or three weeks later for your prints and a fresh roll of film. Digital cameras and phone cameras have pretty much obliterated Kodak as King, as well as the phrase “Kodak Moment” which was part of that company’s ad campaign to focus on capturing those special images that might not happen again.
I would estimate that I carry my point-and-shoot camera with me on my daily treks 99.9% of the time. Not every image that crosses my eyes warrants taking a shot and many mornings the camera stays in its pouch on my fanny pack in the Summer, or tucked into a pocket once I’m wearing a coat.
And, then there are days that a glance at the sky, or multiple weather reports on the radio, Twitter and Accuweather’s website suggest rain or snow flurries may happen while I am out walking, so then I leave the camera at home.
It was just that occasion that I should have had my camera and did not a few weeks ago.
I’ve been walking at Council Point Park since May of 2013 and I’ve been feeding the critters at that venue just as long. Yes, it is YOU that makes the decision to continue feeding them once you start (as they are your friends for life), however, should you decide to forego that nicety, chances are the squirrels and birds didn’t get the memo. They view your appearance on the perimeter path as Pavlov’s dog might have – “yay, the Peanut Lady is here” or loosely translated “our meal ticket has arrived!” Over the years, I’ve had female walkers say to me “thank goodness you’re here as YOUR squirrels were pestering me for peanuts and I’m not starting that with them!”
But, let me clarify that squirrels are not the only critters that assume you are their continuous feedbag. A recent trip to Council Point Park affirmed that for me.
November and December were wacky weather months – we ran the gamut of mild and sunny days, to bitter cold and gray days … sometimes even in the course of a 24-hour period. Of late, there had been a young man fishing off the cement ledge. I have walked past him and he was deep in concentration, staring at the water, lest he miss “the big one” as he waited patiently for a nibble on his lines. Close by his fishing gear were a hot drink takeout cup and a plastic container … no, not night crawlers, but cracked corn. He always left after me, so I would have no way of knowing if he had strewn cracked corn on the cement ledge before departing, but that was my guess as a cluster of Mallard ducks always hovered within close range of where he sat on a milk crate. I suspected he wasn’t baiting his lures on his multiple fishing poles with that corn either.
So, on this particular Wednesday morning, the weather folks said the snow flurries would fly by the 10 o’clock hour. No problem with that, as I’d be home by then, but I left the camera behind since the sky was very gray and I figured I had already taken more than enough photos to last a few months.
Just before I reached the cement landing, I stopped to toss some peanuts for a few gray squirrels who slept in and missed my stops at the other two locales where I have been regularly making peanut drops the last two months. They came scampering over and immediately switched to a begging stance. I chastised them for slacking off and made a production of dumping some peanuts on the ground and pointing to them with my boot toe. I always do this when the side of the pathway is littered with leaves as I don’t want the peanuts sinking into the leaves and grass and meanwhile my little pals’ tummies are growling after I leave. The pair of squirrels merely stared at me. Suddenly gigantic flakes began tumbling from the sky, so I said “I gotta go – they say we’re getting freezing rain tonight, so eat these peanuts as I may not be back for a few days.”
So, whether that warning fizzed on them at all, I really don’t know, but evidently my chatter DID reach some nearby Mallards and at least a dozen of them left the water and came stomping up the Creek bank and planted themselves near the squirrels and me. They surrounded me in anticipation of treats like I was “The Corn Fairy” not “The Peanut Lady”.
I had to smile at the pair of ducks who evidently were the leaders of the pack. They were tall, light-brown colored ducks and were front and center and they began to quack and advance together with the remaining ducks surrounding me quickly … apparently they felt safety in numbers might achieve their goal. I’d never seen these big brown ducks before, but they sure were friendly.
I looked around, no fisherman – hmm, so evidently I was the substitute who was supposed to produce treats just like he did. I had no more peanuts and don’t usually carry duck food on me, so I shrugged and said “sorry – really I am, but I don’t have food or treats and I’m out of peanuts.” The pair up front looked at me dumbfounded and gave a few quacks and within a minute, the whole bunch of them exited stage left and went back into the water. It was a little surreal, as I’ve not had a group of ducks approach me like that. I felt badly and called after them “guys – I’ll bring something for next time … not corn as I’m not going to the store, but some kind of treat, okay?”
Another missed “Kodak Moment” … sigh.
I didn’t make it back until that weekend and I brought along WASA whole-grain crackers. No ducks. Three days in a row and no ducks and finally the moon and stars aligned … ducks showed up and this time, I had food AND the camera.
Well unfortunately, this encounter just wasn’t the same – it lacked the pizazz and spontaneity, the feeling like I was somehow Snow White and the ducks were paying me a visit. But, I brought food, just like I promised, so I felt I had redeemed myself in their eyes.
If you bring “critter food” you must bring enough for a crowd or risk hurt feelings. Many years ago, as a newbie to Council Point Park, I brought a bag of bread, after getting a buy-one-loaf-get-one-free deal at Meijer. I broke the loaf all up and figured I’d share it with the waterfowl. But no ducks were there that day, so I scattered the bag of bread for the Canada Geese, who waddled over and enjoyed it as a change from their regular grass diet. Back then I didn’t know bread was not good for waterfowl. So the gaggle of geese gulped down their bread, then their brethren, on the other side of the walking loop, were eager to get some treats of their own and they hurried over to see me. I showed them the empty wrapper and that didn’t go over well. They charged me and I ran like heck! I caught up with about a half-dozen women walkers and wormed my way into their cozy group and said “bear with me, those geese wanted more bread.” The ladies were cool with accepting me into their group, the geese lost track of me (whew) and I learned a valuable lesson that day.
So back to the present time. The ducks saw the crackers, which I hurriedly broke into sections before dashing out the house. I should have made the pieces smaller I guess. The ducks climbed out of the water and were reluctant at first …
… then they were all in and began eating the crackers.
Soon the Canada geese saw the activity on the cement ledge and decided to investigate. I thought “déjà vu with these geese – didn’t I learn anything the first go around?” Those Canada geese climbed out of the water and took command of the food, but the ducks didn’t back off entirely.
Finally, they settled down and broke bread, er … crackers together.
One female Mallard just gave up and said “oh, let ’em at it!” and waddled off in disgust and plopped back into the Creek.
The light brown ducks, which led the parade before, are much larger than the Mallards. Fellow walker Arnie and I think they might be some type of Pekin-Mallard hybrid. They are huge and I believe the leaders of the ducks at this venue. I looked on some duck websites, but I can’t I.D. them. Maybe you can?
Since I took these photos, more people have encountered these ducks who are emboldened to step out of the water, go up the Creek bank and onto the perimeter path in search of food – this has become an almost everyday occurrence, except this past weekend as the Creek was frozen solid. But they never have come up close in my personal space like that day! I’m still smiling at that encounter. Ducks, unlike geese, are pretty friendly.
I’ll have a follow-up story on the fisherman, whose name is Jacob, as we had a long chat about my close encounters of the duck variety. Since I’ve spoken with Jacob, he’s not been back, unless he arrives after my usual departure time. He assured me the ducks are not hungry and they’re full of shad, the feeder fish that live in this Creek. We agreed the ducks just like hanging with humans and squeezing us for food.
Well, you’ve no doubt heard the expression “lucky duck” and it applies here. Now you often see people bringing food for the ducks and scattering it on the ledge. This week for Wordless Wednesday, you’ll see such a feeding frenzy and I didn’t create it.
Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.
Hmm – four days into the new year and just one walk taken. The squirrels are no doubt fitful, looking at one another and asking “is Linda coming back?” I am hopeful for a Park excursion this morning. We had freezing rain New Year’s Day p.m. which messed up roads and sidewalks Saturday, then Sunday was a slushy mix of rain and snow with below-freezing temps. So much for great beginnings in this newly minted year.
But then, 2020 was a year that began with such promise … a shiny new decade. On January 1, 2020, I could not help but reflect on what I was doing twenty years before. On January 1, 2000, I was overjoyed that the dreaded Y2K digital meltdown did not happen at the stroke of midnight as many had predicted – whew! I recall I held off buying a computer until after Y2K, so on January 2, 2000, I went to the Gateway store and bought my first desktop P.C.
If we thought the advent of Y2K was scary business, imagine if we had known how COVID-19 was going to affect our lives by March 2020. We went blithely about our daily routine, until mid-March when life, as we knew it, certainly put on the brakes.
For me, not much changed at the outset. Having worked from home for nearly a decade, there were no adjustments there and I always buy enough pantry items so I don’t have to shop all Winter, except for perishable items. So that was taken care of. I could live without perishable items and I never bought groceries until May.
Some of you were forced into lockdown mode with no school or work which gave you lots of time to hunker down at home and clear out clutter, renovate, read some books, binge-watch shows on Netflix or hone your cooking skills. I saw tons of brown boxes, paint cans, old carpeting and sad-looking vanities in the ‘hood on my daily walks, so for sure our homes reaped the benefits of lockdown mode.
I have clutter galore and my first goal whenever I retire is to return to a clutter-free house … it’s been so long that I can’t recall what the house looks like upstairs or downstairs. There was a mad scramble to make the house look presentable on the day after Christmas when a plumbing issue cropped up. I resented needing to do that on what I had deemed my “down time” but, to keep up appearances and avoid raised eyebrows and silent judgments by the plumber when he entered the house, I ran around like a mad woman. Then placed the call to the plumber. Evidently, he changed his cellphone number, never called, the problem resolved itself … that’s life. Then I found a wasp nest in the garage – really?!
… pared down my “Trek Bucket List” by going to Huroc Park, Willow Metropark, Crosswinds Marsh and I finished exploring the Rouge Gateway Trail during my virtual Mutt Strut 5K. During the 2019 Mutt Strut the event took us to part of it … I wanted to see more. I’ve still not made it to the sunflower farm and this year I may just grow my own. I used my Metropark pass plenty, but I’ve still not used my state park pass that I add onto my driver’s license fee. Maybe this year.
… Woo hoo!
Here it is when I published it on March 5th last year.
Well I pared down a few. Let’s see. I finally saw a hummingbird and got a few photos! (More on that later).
I hoped to see a Mute Swan Mama with her cygnets nestled beneath those snowy feathers. I was lucky, but it wasn’t quite that heartwarming scenario I pictured in my mind. A pair of Mute Swans were on the Detroit River, with one nearly grown cygnet between them. The motorboats raced by and the current made the bobbing cygnet submerge every few seconds. The parents didn’t care as I stood in shocked disbelief, thinking it may not surface again. It lived but I’m sure it gulped gallons of funky Detroit River water into its tiny lungs.
Up until June 2020, I had visited every watery venue I could in search of Mallards and their ducklings, to no avail. Then right under my nose I found Mama and 10 sweet ducklings trailing behind her at Council Point shortly after it re-opened after being closed for a month. Then, I would go on to see many more ducklings at Coan Lake at Heritage Park during June. They seemed to be everywhere I looked. I guess it was Mother Nature’s gift to me.
I saw Cooper’s Hawks a’plenty – usually going after my little furry buddies at the Park, but I did not get any photos.
“Dabble” is an interesting word.
When ducks dabble, they turn upside down, peering below the surface of the water for some tasty aquatic plants to nibble on. Their feathery duck butts are straight up in the air, but sometimes, like here, they just poke their head into the water … it looks less comical this way.
Last year I scribbled down a few New Year’s resolutions for 2020 while sipping eggnog and polishing off the rest of the Christmas cookies. Must. Read. More. After all, I had enjoyed reading three books from Thanksgiving through the New Year’s long holidays. Inspired, I got more reading material and even bought a couple of book lights to take downstairs to clamp onto those books to read as I perched atop the exercise bicycle for those mornings I would not be walking. So, we had a wonderful Winter with very little snow, so very little bike/book time. So much for that worthy resolution.
I once lived for my garden where I made the backyard into a paradise for butterflies and birds and yes, squirrels, but in those days I fretted when they dug up the lawn or flowerpots to bury or search for the peanuts that I fed them – a real Catch-22 situation. Then a neighbor’s dog out 24/7/365 brought rats and back-to-back Polar Vortex events killed off most of my garden. Disgusted, plus in conjunction with my walking regimen, I vowed never to garden again. I resorted to silk flowers and planted them in pots and baskets – no weeding, deadheading, watering. I was set. Then a friend in North Carolina and I chatted about gardening. I confessed I once was a green thumb outside, but would kill any plant I brought into the house. She said “you can’t kill Oxalis – I’ll send you some of mine if you give me your address.” I politely insinuated she was wasting her time. Undaunted by my exasperation, Betty Jean express-mailed me several bulbs of flowers you may know better as “shamrocks” – but it was hot weather, the express mail package arrived some ten days later. With a defeatist attitude, I told Betty Jean they likely would not make it from being held up by the mail so long, but I dutifully planted them and gave them a few doses of Miracle-Gro Bloom Booster and waited.
Here they were a few weeks later.
And, here they were on Labor Day weekend.
They bloomed well even after the last frost but I finally brought them in … they are now dead as a door nail.
I follow a blog called “In Diane’s Kitchen” and friend and fellow blogger Diane kept posting pictures of crock pot meals. After salivating over far too many of those delicious-looking dinners, I got a crock pot and several recipe books from Amazon. I paged through them and put sticky notes on what I planned to make, but when I told Diane she had inspired me so I had ordered a crock pot, she said “get recipes from the Facebook sites for easy crock pot meals!” I’ve not cracked open the cookbooks but at last I can cook with burning the meals. Yay me! The crock pot also helps since I await the transition to Windows 10 at work and have nowhere else to plug that laptop in, so it has been sitting on the stove glass top since June 2019, plugged in behind the stove.
I dabbled with hummingbird feeding.
I had high hopes for having some fun and maybe photo ops after glimpsing a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird flitting around a pink weed near the door. I had never seen a hummingbird up close, just in photos. But would I get its picture? To increase my chances of a photo op and perhaps have a new hobby, I ordered two hummingbird feeders from my former HVAC tech, who, along with his wife, now own a Wild Birds Unlimited store. Of course, there was all the paraphernalia to go along with the care and feeding of hummers. I don’t bake and had no sugar in the house, so I ordered powdered nectar to mix up in the special hummer bottles, port hole cleaning brushes … okay, I bought into this new hobby hook, line and sinker. I had to get new shepherd’s hooks because my original hooks had an expressway of ants running from the bushes to the feeder and were cemented into the garden long ago, but then my neighbor’s Trumpet Vine brought more ants and spiders so I had to move them again.
I HAD named my hummer “Homer” then never saw it … for weeks, maybe a month or so. Dutifully I filled both feeders and remained ever-hopeful, while thinking I not only wasted money, but now was wasting my time. Then one day I was hanging up the feeders with fresh sugar water and looked over to see this hummer suspended in air, with whirring wings as it waited for its breakfast. As I watched it taking swigs from both feeders, I noticed it was a female, as it was missing that signature red throat. I re-named this little bundle of energy “Hope” and it would take another month to get these not-so-great pictures, which happened one morning when I opened the door to find it raining and Hope sipping at the feeder. I bolted to get the camera lest she leave.
So, what am I to learn or accomplish in 2021? The year is young and as of this writing, I only have 1,253 more miles/2,016 kilometers to go to meet my goal. Wish me luck!
[Google gone kaput image was what appeared on my screen one time. I kept it specifically for this post.]
After lots of fits and starts, in a year like no other, I am happy to tell you I am closing out the year with 1,320 miles/2,124 kilometers walked in 2020. That is 65 miles/104 kilometers over and above my original goal (1,255 miles/2,020 kilometers). As you will recall, the 2,020 kilometers goal was derived from the year 2020 and was a challenge to me by a fellow blogger. Next year I will up that goal amount by one measly kilometer to 2,021 kilometers/1,256 miles … easy peasy right? I like my posts to publish early in the morning; I am not sure if I’m walking today and won’t know until daylight. Yesterday we had some freezing rain and a wintry precip at times and will have the same ugly weather for New Year’s Day – ugh.
So, this year was not wonderfully memorable for what 2020 brought to the table (not much good and I think you’ll agree), but for me it was monumental as I have never walked this many miles in a single year before.
I even took a week off in April to ponder whether I should continue walking at the Park during the pandemic, then returned to my favorite nature nook, only for it to be shut down a few weeks later due to City-wide COVID restrictions. Thus, I spent the month of May returning to my roots, walking in the ‘hood, just like I did before I discovered Council Point Park in May 2013, almost two years after beginning my walking regimen.
We had a blazing hot Summer and high humidity to boot. But I persevered and only drew the line for walking when there was ice, snow or heavy rain. It’s a good thing I reached my goal on November 29th, as the weather has been iffy ever since. I counted on Christmas weekend as one to enjoy three leisurely walks and it turned out I only walked on Sunday as Christmas and the day after were snowy and slippery. We were supposed to get a dusting to one inch of snow and it turned out we got 3 ½ inches/9 cm. People were ecstatic for a white Christmas – me, not so much.
The image above of the ceramic boot and rock with a smiley face was at the base of a tree in a neighborhood where I was scoping out election signs back in late October. I took the photo knowing it would be my year-end tally post header image.
Back in 1973, in my senior year in high school, I walked alongside another classmate in the Detroit-area March of Dimes 17-Mile Walk-a-thon. We solicited money from friends and family members to help us raise funds to fight birth defects in babies. It was a long march that day and it took us through the streets of Detroit and around Belle Isle (also in Detroit). Though his name is not on this official March of Dimes Order of the Battered Boot certificate, the leader of the pack, walking, plus cheering us on, was Detroit rock-n-roll legend Bob Seger. It was a fun experience and how did I ever walk 17 miles at one time? Betcha I had shin splints the next day … or blisters. It’s a blur now, but I have the certificate and little feet stamp to prove it.
On a lark, I reached out to the March of Dimes – Michigan to see if, by chance, they had some facts or stats, or even photos about our 1973 Walk-a-thon to include with this post. Even if I came in dead last and had umpteen blisters on my feet, I was prepared to tell all. Jamie, at the March of Dimes Facebook site, was eager to help but discovered the March for Babies’ records only went back to 2002 and Jamie even tried asking co-workers for any info, but unfortunately it was too long ago to glean any info from those folks. Thank you anyway Jamie!
I always had my trusty Kodak pocket camera with me but not on this occasion unfortunately.
So onward and upward in 2021 … I hope the next year is not such a steep hill to climb on many levels!!!
Please click here for a special message. Happy New Year!
Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.
Winter had still not arrived on the day I took this walk at Council Point Park. But you could have fooled me – it was gray, gloomy and very cold. This was Saturday, December 19th and I’d not been to the Park in two days. While walking home Wednesday morning, the snow flurries were flying furiously, then by afternoon, the landscape was white. We didn’t get much snow, but layered in, once again, was a little freezing rain, which slickened up driveways and sidewalks. A little overnight snow Thursday night provided an additional frosty layer. This time, however, fewer homeowners shoveled or swept, which necessitated walking in the salted street if I hoped to make it down to the Park without wiping out along the way.
When I arrived at Council Point Park, the parking lot was a mishmash of small piles of salt and hunks of snow and ice in other spots where the salt spreader had totally missed, so I opted to walk on the grass to get to the start of the perimeter path, that “fork” that I showed you recently in the four-seasons photo.
I didn’t fare much better on the pathway, as it had not been plowed and ice and crusty crud crunched under my feet as I set out. The winds had picked up a bit and buffeted me as I picked my way along the path. Very quickly I decided to walk on the grass and hurried to the Safe Haven Tree, where a few furry friends scampered over and a Jay heralded my arrival with a few screeches to put out the call to his brethren. I had brought sunflower seeds as a treat since I know they’d missed two days’ “droppings” and I sprinkled them liberally over the memorial stone and spread peanuts too.
Puff descended the Safe Haven Tree lickety-split and bolted over to the sunflower seeds, completely bypassing the peanuts.
I wanted to feel his forehead, while thinking “why didn’t I get more sunflower seeds to leave for those bad-weather days when the predicted forecast tells me I will not be showing my face at the Park?”
I was right up close to Puff when I snapped these photos of him sporting a smidgeon of snow. “He must be freezing” I thought as he bounced around, despite his added girth. The dull daylight, made his usually glossy black fur, look like it was tinged with brown.
A few more squirrels and another Jay had joined the feeding frenzy so I moved on. I eyeballed the pathway ahead and sure didn’t like the look of the lumpy-looking, snow-and-ice-covered surface and decided that I wasn’t going to walk it, despite wearing lug-soled hiking boots. I quickly cut across the loop, by walking on the snow-covered grass. I’m still counting my steps, but since I’ve passed my goal already I decided now was the time to cut corners.
I headed over to the woodsy area which I have designated as a second “safe haven area” and was pleased to see a few furry and feathered friends come to greet me. I’ve been feeding the squirrels and Jays, even a few Cardinals, at this location for about a month now. I knew that collection of logs and the tree stump left behind by the tree cutters back in early Fall could serve some purpose, so I’ve been placing peanuts and treats there. This woodsy little nook is not large, but the logs provide a refuge from flying predators and the Creek bank is behind the log, so no hawk is going to risk swooping through the branches and harming itself. No worries guys … I’ve got your backs!
So, I left peanuts there and some sunflower seeds that quickly disappeared into the snow – oops, I should have cleared the “table” off first, but they had a surprise when the snow melted!
Fluff, my cute gray squirrel peanut pal, scoped the goodies and me out from his perch, the snow serving as a nice backdrop for this shot.
A Fox squirrel grabbed a few peanuts and posed nicely.
Soon a friend joined him and they sat in the still morn, noshing nuts contentedly.
I stayed a few minutes to ensure everyone was tucked into this little niche and no predators were flying about. I didn’t see any other squirrels, geese or ducks, so I just returned the same way to leave for home. It was a short visit, but it served a purpose of getting some fresh air, racking up about three miles and feeding my furry and feathered friends.
I left the camera out as I wanted to take a photo on my way home of this Cottontail Rabbit nestled in the snow. It was there earlier and hadn’t moved at all.
I took this picture …
… and, when it didn’t flinch, I stepped a little closer, snapped the photo, then returned to the sidewalk before I scared it (or got my hand slapped for trespassing).
I first saw this bunny a few weeks ago. It’s brownish fur blended into this homeowners’ lawn. I did a double-take when I saw it, hunched down into the grass, its ears slicked back. Immediately I was concerned it was sick, but I didn’t want to approach it closer to startle it, so I continued on my journey. Belatedly, I remembered my neighbor was mowing the lawn many years ago and found a bunny nest right out in the open. The mother had abandoned her kittens (the term for baby rabbits) and Marge went to the pet shop to ask how to take care of the babies. She came home with nourishment and tiny bottles to feed them. Unfortunately they were so small, they did not survive.
Since that time, I’ve read you should ensure to check your lawn carefully before mowing for any rabbit nests. I’m not sure if this is just a resting spot for this bunny as it does not appear they breed and have kittens this late in the year. I know she’s got that soft fur, but surely it is not enough to keep her warm on these bitter cold days and nights while resting in the snow.
Of course I feel badly for all the critters as Winter marches on. All I can do is hope they have a safe place to curl up for the evening and food to sustain them until Spring, then beyond.
We’ve all gathered together to send some holiday cheer.
We sure need it after 2020 – whew, what a horrible year!
Today Linda told us that we must look extra cute.
‘Cuz tonight we await the big man in the red suit.
After Santa delivers toys on his worldwide journey.
Linda says he may visit here and stop at each tree.
So, we’ll all wait in our nests for Santa Claus to arrive.
And stay up really late (we usually are asleep by five).
Linda was here to visit – she brought us a holiday lunch.
We had snowman cookies, walnuts, peanuts and punch.
We always love peanuts, but the other treats sure were yummy.
Afterward, we wanted a nap – all those cookie carbs in our tummy!
But instead, Linda said “how ’bout we take some fun pics?”
She asked our permission, even though it was just for kicks.
Linda brought bows, antlers and funny hats so we’d look cute AND pretty.
Then she said “let’s make a post with your pics and a fun Christmas ditty.”
“You could look high and low and no cuter squirrels would you find!”
That’s what Linda always says – heck it’s true (she’s not just being kind).
So, don’t forget to leave treats for Santa and his reindeer once it’s dark.
Merry Christmas from Linda and all her little furry friends at the Park.
P.S.: One more special wish and some merriment before you depart here.
If you click right at this spot, you are sure to find a little Christmas cheer.
#Wordless Wednesday – allow your photo(s) to tell the story.
The Winter Solstice arrives today at 5:02 a.m., just as this post is publishing. As my long-time followers know, Winter is my least-favorite season. I dislike driving in the ice and snow just as much as I dislike walking in it. Once it is icy and dicey on our City streets and sidewalks, the same conditions are usually found on the perimeter path at my favorite nature nook. This curtails my walking regimen immensely as you might imagine. I really don’t mind the cold, and, since I took the bus to Downtown Detroit for over three decades, I have amassed a collection of woolen hats, warm wraps, mitts and gloves, plus lug-soled boots. As long as it is clear and dry outside, off I go to walk at the Park.
The first Christmas Day I walked at Council Point Park, back in 2013, we had a pop-up snow squall on my second time around the perimeter path. Earlier that morning, people lamented on social media about our lack of fresh snow to add a little Christmas ambiance. I was the opposite of these folks as I was overjoyed no additional snow had fallen, since it had been slick and slippery at the Park the last time I had walked there. It’s no joy having to step around layers of snow and ice on the pathway, so I figured this was Mother Nature’s little gift to me.
But, soon into my walk, I realized I had been a tad overconfident about the wiles of Mother Nature. The sky quickly darkened and I remember looking up and thinking “well, that’s a snow sky if I’ve ever seen one.” Mere minutes later, enormous snowflakes began to fall then swirl around my feet. In a heartbeat, the huge snowflakes began to slicken up the path and I couldn’t see what icy patches were beneath, so I cut across the grassy “donut area” to head for home. Home is just one mile away, but the snow was flying furiously by then and snowflakes had drifted and deposited heaps of the white stuff on the streets and sidewalks. Additionally, a stiff wind had blown up and I struggled to keep my balance as the gusts buffeted me. My parka hood insisted on flipping backward, and, unbelievably, by the time I reached home, snow had glommed onto every crease or crevice of my parka and the hood was filled with snow.
That was the longest walk home ever! I brushed off all the snow and with a nose as red as a cherry, (just like Santa and also my parka), I hustled into the house, grumbling all the way. “What just happened here?” I asked of no one in particular. I was sure a mere half-hour before I was enjoying my walk and working up an appetite for an early Christmas dinner and here I was with a saturated coat and hat, plus numb from my nose to my toes.
We’ve been fairly lucky so far in November and December, except for the November 30th snowstorm where the snow melted in a few days and last Wednesday’s minor accumulation blip. I wish we could remain unscathed by wintry weather the remainder of this season, but two mild Winters in a row likely won’t happen.
Once before I captured four images, one for each season, of the identical fork in the road, er … beginning of the walking path. This was the collage I made back in 2017.
I always start off on the right side, as it runs parallel to the Creek, has the most trees, thus many squirrels and birds. I prefer going in this direction, though it really doesn’t matter, however, when going to the left, I sneak up on Harry the Heron when he’s fishing and he freaks out more than usual. Here are the photos taken to mark each season in this new decade. I would have liked a photo with lots of dandelions for my Spring picture, but dandelion season happened the month the Park was closed due to COVID (May 1st through June 2nd).
Just ten more days until 2020 comes to a close … we all can’t wait!