Once again I waited for the sun to shine brightly before taking off for Council Point Park. I also thought it might lessen a chance encounter with black ice on the Park perimeter path. Listening to the meteorologist from The Weather Channel on the Warren Pierce Show at 6:15 a.m., I gulped when I heard him say we had not had such frigid temps since February 17th. What gives with our wacky weather? A week ago it was so mild I walked wearing just a sweat suit and got soaked in a drenching rain and today it felt like stepping into an Arctic clime.
In preparation for my walk on this frosty morn, I donned eleven assorted articles of clothing plus clipped on a pedometer and slipped a lanyard with my keys, pepper spray and whistle around my neck. Unbelievably, it takes me nearly 15 minutes to get dressed and undressed and sometimes I cannot help but hear my mom’s voice back when I just a little nipper “Linda go to the bathroom before you get your snowsuit on” … yup, check … did that before I start to suit up. I also can see her ushering me out the door and into the backyard to play in the snow, all bundled up in snow pants, a heavy coat, mittens, scarf covering most of my face and a woolen cap, which we Canadians call a toque. Let’s not forget those brown, clumsy, buckled boots with two pair of socks underneath. She’d tell me to go play and get some fresh air and five or ten minutes later I’d knock on the door protesting I was cold. I got no sympathy and was shooed out again.
In the colder weather, I keep the house warm for Buddy, and invariably, I will be sitting on the hassock putting on my walking shoes and the heat will kick on, whereupon I’ll start racing to get ‘em laced up and beat a hasty retreat downstairs to retrieve my coat before I cook. Or, the reverse will happen and I’ll walk in the house post-walk and hear the heat kick on. Sometimes I’ll just stay in the basement and not even go upstairs ‘til the furnace shuts off.
Well, today I wore a very warm down coat that I’ve had for years but haven’t dragged out of the closet since my “bus days”. I bought it on sale, and got it for a song, probably because of its color. The store tag identified the coat color as “bright salmon” … well, that would be accurate – let’s just say you can’t miss me in it. It was a favorite coat for riding the bus, incredibly lightweight and cozy warm since it is 100% down. Well, I was toasty today as I walked two trips of the entire Park path. I had the whole place to myself and I didn’t see a single person on either of my two trips around the Park. The snow squalls yesterday left a narrow band of snow along the water’s edge and at the base of the reeds as well . The water’s surface had a sheen in the colder spots where a light glaze had formed. No big, beautiful swan today, but there must have been fifty or more mallards streaming out of the storm drain where they were seeking shelter from the cold. I don’t know if it was happenstance that they swam out en masse as I neared the concrete landing – perhaps they saw my bright-colored coat, puffed out with feathers from their kin or their ancestors. Who knows? I know they suddenly were there, clustered in great bunches as bread tidbits were tossed out from my polar-fleece, gloved hand. Soon they were scrambling for a bite, knocking each other aside in their haste. I wished I had more but I portioned it out to feed them for a few more days since it will stay cold most of this week. The birds were missing in action and I only saw one squirrel … he hit the jackpot when I offered him five peanuts laid in one pile on the pathway. He sniffed the nuts, then left them to follow along behind his benefactor until I rounded the bend. (Yes, can you say cute?)
After my frosty, five-mile trip today I was glad to be home and ready to sip something hot to warm me from top to toe. A glance in the mirror while I was removing layer after layer revealed a nose just as red as ol’ Rudolph’s.