After struggling for weeks and weeks to arrive, it seems that maybe Spring has finally landed and is here to stay, that is, except for Council Point Park, which is still cloaked in drab colors and post-Winter barrenness.
I left for my walk later today thinking I’d wait until the sun warmed the temp up a bit. It helped, but the high clouds held the sun at bay most of the time, and it was windy as well. As I walked through the various neighborhoods enroute to the Park, it seemed that in the past few days everyone has finally embraced this season and come alive. Pastel Spring-y wreaths now adorn front doors, brightly colored tulips line up like soldiers in garden beds and pots of hyacinths and Easter lilies have migrated from last Sunday’s dining room table to the front porch awaiting transplanting. Forsythia bushes are beginning to bloom and I saw touches of bright yellow peeking out from various backyards as I passed by. It seemed that yard clean-up and turf managing was high on the agenda this weekend. I saw many rakes being put to good use, and heaps of shredded leaves and large and small branches getting funneled into oodles of yard waste bags. I stepped on and smelled fertilizer pellets as well as the aroma of freshly mowed grass. A few times I had to sidestep the bright-green stains left by mower wheels on the sidewalk, lest I pick up the stains or grass clods in the ridges of my walking shoes. Every so often, I heard the choking sound of a mower being started up for the first time this year and a puff of dark gray smoke emerged shortly thereafter. The click, click, click of toenails on trees told me a pair of frisky squirrels were nearby, and sure enough … there they were, chittering at one another as they clambered up and down and ‘round the tree. Then they saw me coming and they panicked and took off into the street – I held my breath, afraid to look, but the driver braked the vehicle on time and the squirrels nonchalantly crossed the street, oblivious to their near-demise and on the way to their next adventure.
At the Park, however, Spring seemed to be suspended and everything was pretty much status quo since I returned there for the first time a fortnight ago. A few buds have emerged on bushes and saplings, but no leaves have unfurled yet. In fact, most trees are still bare, showing anyone who dares to look up as far as the eye can see, exactly how many squirrels and birds have built their nests in the branches. There are many fallen trees in the marshy area of the Park, and if you peer between the tall reeds and marsh grass, you often see large logs or big branches that have broken off trees and are now sticking haphazardly out of the water. As I stood looking for mallards I saw a lowly sunbeam create this large tree’s reflection on the water … I snapped the picture, while carefully trying to eliminate as much debris out of the shot as possible. A few minutes later the tree’s reflection was gone after the sun dipped behind a cloud. The high clouds and the drab colors hardly enhance the natural nooks and crannies that nurture the wildlife that I enjoy seeing and hearing in my daily respite from the humdrum and sometimes dull and droll business of daily existence. The Park is a breath of fresh air – and it’s free. You can’t say that about very many things these days can you? Where else can you infuse your senses with nature and just inhale/exhale/get exhilarated/get re-charged and not spend a penny? I hope I paint a pretty picture of Council Point Park in my many vignettes so that you feel as if you are there. Sometimes, I am biased, and I do admit that I often view the Park through rose-colored glasses, but other walkers I strike up a conversation with say the same thing – walking through the Park is an escape of sorts. It’s all in the perception really. I’ve written before that I see right past the graffiti on the cement precipice that is near the storm drain where the ducks congregate. Who cares if “Rick Loves Lisa!” … it is too bad that the markings of our culture have to mar the beauty of the natural habitat, but sadly people must deface other people’s property. Right now, the Ecorse Creek and its banks are sorely in need of a little TLC. Our former mayor reached out to her constituents via Facebook and recruited volunteers to bring themselves, their rakes and yard-waste bags for two intensive days of clean-up last Spring. Our new mayor, however, has his hands full right now, since our poor City is in arrears up to its eyeballs and worrying about the possibility of an Emergency Manager, so I guess clean-up by the regular Parks and Rec crew doesn’t factor into the budget. So, you’ll see some plastic water bottles strewn along the Park path, the occasional energy bar wrapper or salty snack wrapper. In fact, this morning I saw a rather amusing sight – a squirrel had his nose embedded deep into a discarded bag of Cheetos and when he heard me, he quickly turned the bag loose and emerged with a nose dusted in bright orange Cheetos cheese dust. Cute, but sad, nonetheless as there are 55-gallon cans to deposit garbage throughout the Park grounds. Sometimes you’ll see large Styrofoam packing pieces drifting down the Creek or those light-as-a-feather Styrofoam packing peanuts blowing around as well. There are plastic bags snagged on trees and flapping in the breeze or garbage clinging to the bulrushes. To enjoy the beauty of the Park, you must look past the debris, disarray and still dull-looking marshland and bare trees, plus you simply must disregard those trees that have fallen into the water at awkward angles disrupting the flow of the water and which allow items to grab on and collect around it, i.e. somewhere my beret that flew off my head last Fall is still clinging to one such wayward branch. I’ve discovered the natural wonders in the Park, but besides using my eyes to take it all in, I rely even more on my ears … ears to hear the beautiful birdsong and even the geese honking and ducks quacking – they are all part of the ambiance. Sure, the Ecorse Creek and its banks are also a little tired looking but none the worse for wear as we collection of nature lovers transplanted from the “Big City” muddle along like misfits along the pathway, glad for a slice of sunshine through the trees to lighten our moods and give us a glimpse of Mother Nature’s treasures.