Well, this morning’s walk in the Park was no “walk in the park” as that expression goes … it was downright cold, and, when I opened the door to go out, it sure was not inviting in the least. But I am “this close” to finishing up my goal for the year, so off I went, after piling on even more layers, including my early Christmas present from Buddy. I bought myself a rather frivolous gift the other day, convincing my frugal self, that it was Buddy’s Christmas present to me, so it was therefore allowed. After fumbling to remove my gloves to take a picture last weekend, then essentially missing the shot by a mile, I decided to buy a pair of convertible fingerless gloves, with flip-up mitten tops. They are no doubt created for the younger set who text all the time, but they will work super for me when using the camera on those frosty mornings at the Park. I decided it was cold enough to wear them this morning and they sure were toasty … the rest of me – well, not so much.
The cold temps and yesterday’s snow flurries have descended on Council Point Park big time. As I walked on the perimeter trail, I saw loads of frost-encrusted leaves and a heavy layer of frost on the grass. In some places, the Creek already has a thin veil of ice covering portions of the water. Where there was no ice, the ducks were silently gliding along, stopping occasionally to alight on a log to preen themselves, or, intermittently plunging their pretty iridescent heads into the water in search of breakfast. They made me all the colder watching all that dunking in that chilly water. The Glee Club was out in full force. What is the Glee Club you ask? Often, when I start on the trail, I will see the various squirrels stop in their tracks, sit up on their haunches and then scamper over to see me from all parts of the Park. It puts a smile on my face, and, I must say, sometimes the look on their collective faces is one of pure glee in that they know a treat is coming … sustenance for them, but a good feeling for me. I wonder just how they will survive the elements sometimes because the berries are gone and I don’t think I’ve seen any Oak trees from which they might glean acorns. Perhaps they stray to the nearby neighborhoods to work their magic on the homeowners there. So, I gifted the Glee Club as I walked along the trail the first time, then revisited again on my second time around, and, of course by then, the peanuts were already eaten or stashed away somewhere so they came over to me once again. I may be in the poorhouse for my good deeds, but it warmed my heart to watch their antics on a frigid cold day like this one.
Weather folklore is great – after all, what would we do without Punxsutawney Phil predicting how many weeks are left in the Winter season? Naturalists say that an abundance of acorns littering your lawn means a bad Winter is on the way. Oh-oh … I’ve seen more acorns than usual on the City sidewalks this year. And “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” tells us a Woolly Bear caterpillar, like the one I saw on the Park trail back in late September and pictured above, is a good way to tell what is in store for Winter; the wider the light-brown band on its body is, the more weeks of Winter, because supposedly each segment represents one week of Winter. Well, this guy looks like three equal-colored segments to me. Folklore and urban legend tells us that squirrels gathering and stashing nuts in a hurry will cause the skies to flurry, and, also we can tell if the Winter will be wicked by how furry a squirrel’s tail is – the furrier the tail, the worse the Winter. Well my furry friends at the Park are gathering nuts aplenty and flicking their ample tails quite a bit so I guess we stay tuned and hope for the best. Whether we are predicting this Winter’s weather by studying squirrels’ tails or relying on Grandpa’s tales, I think we’re going to take it on the chin either way.