The past two days when it rained – the regular variety and the frozen precip, the weather folks were spot on, so yesterday when they all concurred there would be a wintry mix this morning, I decided that I’d lose the alarm clock, sleep in, hang out huddled under my covers for awhile to hear the news of the day, then mosey down to the exercise bike for the third day in a row. That sounded like a nice plan to ease into my Saturday. So, while I was still snuggled under my covers, I turned my headphones on to hear the weatherman say that now rain or snow MIGHT be coming, and if so, that it would be late in the day. Well, I thought a few weeks ago, they gave us a bum steer, and at that time, I planned to just rely on looking outside after I got up in the morning. I guess they can’t predict the weather 100% of the time, and unbelievably, I have found a weather site that gives the weather one year in advance – http://www.weathertrends360.com. Just for kicks, I’m going to monitor it going forward to see how accurate they are. I also checked the pollen count today, having sneezed a few times, and was surprised to find the pollen count is medium today in Lincoln Park. Really?! Where are the trees, grass and flowers that are contributing to the pollen count spike? I heard the allergies would be bad this year after our brutal Winter.
After a quick breakfast, I ventured out on what was a blustery March day, lifted right out of the ditty about “March winds” – brrrr. As I walked past the house with the sprouting daffodils, I stole a glance over to the garden bed and noticed that their light-green spindly shoots were still intact, despite the freezing rain that was pelting down on them mid-day this past Thursday. The wind was whipping around and it did look like a rain or snow sky, so I only travelled over to Ford Park two blocks away to walk loops around the Park, so I would not get drenched by a sudden downpour or snow squall. A low-hanging branch snagged my wool hat and lifted it right from my head. ‘Well, c’mon back for goodness sake’ I said out loud thinking to myself ‘it is much too cold to be turning the hat loose yet’ … besides, I already lost one cap last year during an especially gusty breath of wind in the Fall at Council Point Park. I thought I made a concession while getting dressed this morning, since it is Spring after all, by eliminating my warm scarf around my neck, but that was a dumb move, and I soon zipped my coat all the way up so it functioned like a turtleneck to keep warm.
I went three loops around the Park and racked up 2.50 miles, and for each loop I walked, I saw the same pair of young boys playing on the two slides at the Park. It is a rather unique piece of equipment in that there are two slides – a traditional one and another one which looks like a tunnel and there is a hammock-like, slatted walkway strung between them and it was swinging back and forth when the boys walked across it. A woman was nearby, probably their mother, walking a dog who barked incessantly because no one paid him any attention – the boys were too busy sliding or climbing and she was either texting a mile a minute or animatedly speaking on the phone each time I happened to look over. She kept a watchful eye from afar of the boys’ escapades as they kept going round-and-round and down the slide. I wondered at some point if they would become bored with that ad nauseum routine, until I remembered my trips to the park during my childhood, and, that I also hated to tear myself away from the swing, teeter-totter or the slide when told it was time to be heading home. I’d push the envelope until my father would finally holler at me, following several warnings that we should get going, at which point he’d say “this is absolutely the last time Linda” and, only then, would I scramble off whatever playground equipment I was enjoying to walk by his side and start heading for home. It was refreshing to see the kids enjoying themselves on the playground equipment instead of being parked in front of a T.V. or hunched over some electronic device. Council Point Park has nice playground equipment as well, but I rarely see any kids enjoying it. So, while I mused over the tedium of going down the slide so many times, perhaps those kids were looking at me and thinking ‘wonder why that lady keeps walking around the Park in circles – I mean, how boring is that?’
While I sauntered along on my journey, I noticed on the shady side of the street, there was still snow but the Park itself is now snow-free but covered in icy pools. On the sunny side of the street, the melted snow was still in icy patches near the sewer drains.
I passed several birdfeeders where birds were gathered, still getting their sustenance from the kindly people who enjoy their visit to their respective yards. Many of the just-topped-off feeders had birds perched or clinging on the sides, and a few feeders listed either from the wind, or sometimes a fat squirrel who had hopped aboard, having decided the birdfeeder was his first stop of the day. As I walked through the neighborhood, up ahead I watched a woman, still clad in her robe and slippers, open her side door and toss out a handful of what appeared to be crackers or cookies onto the driveway. While there were not many tidbits there, instantly I saw several sparrows abandon a nearby suet cake, hoping to get a bigger piece of the pie before returning to the suet holder and adjacent birdseed feeder. As I drew near, most of the large crumbs were taken, except for one piece of the treat, and as I passed by, two sparrows were “duking it out” to see who would claim the prize. It wasn’t pretty – I witnessed pecking, much cackling and wings flapping as I walked by, and shortly after I passed the driveway, I saw one triumphant sparrow fly past me with his prized morsel in his beak. Don’t let the sparrow’s diminutive size fool you because sparrows are really very vicious birds who will attack larger birds and take their food, and even their nests, then use those misappropriated nests to raise their own offspring. Just look at the picture above, and you will see this common house sparrow has taken a rather defiant posture on the feeder regarding the seeds. You don’t see anyone else sharing the wealth do you? Bullying amongst our feathered friends. Well, how sad … and all along you’ve heard that expression about how it is a “dog-eat-dog-world”.