Before I left the house this morning, in anticipation of a long walk, I checked off my necessities first:
Bag of peanuts – check.
Bag of duck bread (as opposed to much-tastier monkey bread) – check.
One large d’Anjou pear with a tiny worm hole – check. (I set this pear aside for my favorite Park squirrel, er – the one who follows me in search of peanuts. Okay, so I’m a sucker for a cute face.)
So, I was good to go and set off with a spring in my step on a relatively mild December day in search of reaching the mileage equivalent to a 10K walk. It was a tad gloomy, but it was dry and I had the perfect mix of clothing on – not too hot, not too cold and for me, just perfect walking weather.
The ice is still lingering on the northern branch of the Ecorse Creek, but once around the bend, the water ripples and flows just as easily as on a Summer day. Because the weather was not as frigid, the ducks were gathered in the tiny alcove and completely absent from their usual sheltered area under the sewer drain. I depleted my bread supply in minutes amidst alot of quacking and carrying on. In fact, two ducks flew down from the sky, skidding along the water in a rather ungraceful move to partake in the feast.
The first lap around the perimeter path I was greeted by multiple squirrels – four of them in fact and not in the same places. Each one bolted down from a tree and received three peanuts for its efforts. Each squirrel immediately cracked and ate one peanut, then scurried away with the remaining ones to squirrel away in their hidey-hole. But, I was looking for my little guy and finally spied him, or perhaps I should say he spied me, and, not shy at all, he scampered right over in front of me and sat on his haunches and begged. I told him no genuflecting or similar gestures were necessary, but he persisted. I dug in my coat pocket for the pear and placed it on the path then surrounded it by four peanuts. Well, it was like Christmas for him. His eyes followed my hands as I put the treats on the pathway, and clearly he was conflicted which yummy morsel to eat first. He decided on the pear as it wasn’t as portable as the rest of his booty. With a smile on my face, I suppressed the urge to wave goodbye, but moved on and resumed walking. The second lap of my journey, he was the only squirrel I saw and he came right over to me, stopping me in my tracks. Feisty little bugger! I identified him since he had traces of pear flesh on the sides of his cheeks and the red skins of the peanuts had attached themselves to the sticky dribbles. I wished I could have offered him a napkin. I tossed him a few more peanuts and promised “next time around” he’d get a few more, and, sure enough, by the time I got to the third lap, he was once again at the ready for this sucker to drop a few more peanuts at my feet so he could grab ‘em up.
After three laps and the mile-long return trip home, I was pooped, but elated to have reached the 10K goal. I climbed out of my walking clothes and was happy to just sit down and rest on my laurels, along with my tired tootsies. The concept of a hot soak in a tub, similar to this gingerbread fellow soaking in a cup of coffee, sounded inviting, but chores and addressing Christmas cards were on today’s agenda … and alot of sitting.