Well, it was just like old times as the gloomy morning finally brightened and off I went to Council Point Park. It was nearly two weeks since I’d been here and it sure felt like forever. The sun never did show its face the entire time I was out and about, and the last ½ hour or so of my walk, I was pelted with a snowy/sleety mix.
As I entered my familiar stomping grounds, the first thing I noticed was the parking lot was totally empty. Was I the only person who attempted a walk this morning or was everyone shopping for tomorrow’s feast? I actually didn’t see a soul until I was about to leave the Park – a human soul that is. A man pulled up as I walked through the parking lot to head home.
The stillness on the trail made the walk even more special. The Wyandotte train loudly blew its whistle and it seemed to go on forever in the quiet morn. I heard several birds flitting through the trees, their tails or wings hitting what few brittle leaves were still hanging on and it made a faint rustling sound. Every so often one of them would emit a little peep or a squeak and I’d glance up and quickly find the source of that noise since all their tree hidey-holes are now exposed.
With the trees now nearly bare I caught a glimpse into the Creek where I saw all the mallards frolicking around and the two white ducks were back, silently gliding alongside them. I took a couple of pictures and we’ll see if they turn out better than the last ones that I shot through the foliage.
A half-dozen chubby squirrels scampered as quickly as their now roly-poly bodies would allow. Three of them scrambled over right away, followed a few minutes later by their friends and family. I dispensed peanuts, apologies for taking so long to get back here and, of course, Thanksgiving wishes as well. On the subsequent trip they gathered around and then followed behind me, despite my depositing at least 15 peanuts on the trail for them to share. I love watching them scamper off, nut in between their teeth, to hide that little treasure.
I saw a beautiful Canada goose standing solo, down by the water’s edge. I wanted to warn him (or her) to vamoose because someone’s Thanksgiving turkey may still be frozen solid and the cook may need a quick fix and set their sights on a goose for the big feast. My father liked roast goose and we occasionally had it for Christmas dinner. He was German and a favorite treat for him was goose drippings spread on toast. He made my mom save the goose grease, which she’d pour into a crock and after it hardened, he’d spread it thick on toast. My mom and I didn’t fight to share it with him. He also slathered that stuff on his chest, then put a red flannel over it when he had a bad cold … I got the mentholated Vicks VapoRub smeared under my nose and on my chest to knock that cold down fast. I didn’t like those menthol fumes but I think it was better than goose grease. At any rate, I watched that goose for the longest time. He, like me, was solo and I wondered if he fell behind from the flock. The next time I passed that spot he was gone.
Monday’s wind sure took its toll on the Park and several old, already long-dead trees were laying on their side and one was split and falling toward the Creek. That wind savagely stripped whole branches from several of the memorial trees and they were scattered about. I saw that the memorial wreath of Sergeant Di Pietro, the young Marine I wrote about on Veteran’s Day, was missing from under the big fir tree. I walked over, hoping the wreath had not been stolen or vandalized, and saw it had blown to the other side of the fir tree and was protected by the heavy boughs. I reached in and got it, then jammed the metal legs hard into the ground and hopefully it will stay put this time.
I was happy to be on the trail again and enjoying my favorite nature hideout. That long walk did me good as it had been way too long … a quick look in the mirror the other day told me that a few more days and my legs, sleek from pounding the pavement for those hundreds of miles in 2014, would soon be starting to look like turkey drumsticks if I didn’t get back on the trail posthaste.