Today was one of those lazy-hazy-crazy days of Summer they sing about. When I left the house this morning, it was still a little foggy … and that’s no description of yours truly. I decided to walk down Emmons Boulevard all the way to the Detroit River as I sure wasn’t going to mess with any mosquitoes in Council Point Park after this soggy and humid week. As I passed by Ford Park I noticed alot of trees had met the same fate as those in Memorial Park … missing limbs galore and huge piles of leafy branches were scattered everywhere.
As I walked down Emmons, the usual canopy of trees seemed to be intact but it looked as if that gusty wind whisked alot of bark right off those stately trees as shreds of bark were scattered all over the sidewalks and in the street. There were dozens of green acorns littering the sidewalk and they crunched under my feet as I walked.
It really wasn’t a morning for people watching as I saw no walkers and just one bicyclist … it was much cooler than yesterday, and even rather dismal looking, so I suspect most people were enjoying a lazy Saturday morning indoors.
I watched a pair of robins crouched over a cicada who was lying on the sidewalk furiously flailing its gossamer wings. I suspect they might have already pecked it and were now simply staring at the poor insect, and studying it as one might study a chess board before making the next move. Though you’ll never catch me coming to any bug’s rescue, I actually felt sorry for the cicada as those birds each watched their prey, as well as each other, anticipating the next move … a little game of “who should grab that goodie first?” … it made me visibly shudder. The cicada’s bullet-shaped body was easily the size of my whole thumb, so I’m sure it made a tasty meal for one lucky robin. I moved along before they could move in for the “kill” and the sidewalk was bare by the time I made my return trip.
When I got to the intersection of Emmons and Biddle, I gazed across the river, as I usually do, but I could see nothing on the horizon as it was so hazy, and even downright foggy. Well phooey; even the bobbing buoys were missing in action. I’ll bet a big freighter would have been just a dim outline on that foggy shoreline as well.
I hated to think I toted my camera along for nothing, so I wandered over to the River’s Edge Marina and snapped this picture advertising fishing bait … nothing special about a sign that advertises Canadian night crawlers, but really … do the fish like ‘em better than American night crawlers? Well, this Canadian was just strolling, not crawling, thank you very much, and before my trek ended today, I added five miles to my total. Not bad, eh?
I turned around to head for home and as I neared the railroad tracks, I saw the bright lights of an oncoming train in the hazy distance. The crossing gates hadn’t been lowered yet, but not wanting to take a chance on making a foolish dash for it, I stood obediently by the gates to await the passing of the train. Many years ago, a friend’s father tried to beat the train at the Champaign Road railroad tracks and failed. I had just started working at the diner and was on afternoons briefly while I was being trained, and, above the din of never-ending jukebox music we heard the police and ambulance sirens screeching out incessantly. On the 11:00 p.m. news that night I learned that Mr. Nolan had lost his life trying to beat the train.
Well, all of a sudden, the crossing gate arm lowered and a terrific clang, clang, clanging noise ensued and brought me out of my reverie about that terrible night. Being in such close proximity to the crossing gate, that sound seemed deafening to me and I wanted to plug my ears. The train, had crept closer and, mercifully, was short … only 18 boxcars, each of which was covered with graffiti. There was no caboose bringing up the rear and that got me reminiscing about when I was a kid and how we’d be routinely stopped by the train when going to my grandmother’s house. If we were the first car behind the gate, I’d always give a gleeful wave at the red caboose, and, sometimes the conductor would indulge me and I’d get a salute or a wave back. That was a big deal when you’re a little kid. I never see a caboose on the tail end of a train anymore … just another little joy of childhood taken away from our kids today.