What a glorious morning – it was a little frosty but the sun was out. Yay for those rays! Even sunglasses would have been in order.
I hadn’t walked on the path at Council Point Park since Thanksgiving, so that was the destination for my Sunday stroll.
Since the last time I trekked through the neighborhoods to and from the Park, alot of people have strung their holiday lights and put out their decorations. Christmas trees were peeking through living room windows, brimming with bulbs and glowing with lights in the early morn. In one front yard I saw Santa and his reindeer mixin’ it up with Baby Jesus and a manger scene, while a few homeowners have their harvest and Halloween décor still going on.
It was quiet and peaceful at the Park … just how I like it.
I guess the regular walkers and joggers have abandoned the regimen for the colder months since I walked two loops and never saw a soul until I was crossing the parking lot on my way home.
There was a thin veil of ice on the Creek water, but a swift current was pushing that wafer-thin ice around and breaking it up a bit. In those patches of ice-free water you could play connect-the-dots with the ducks … there was about fifty mallards this morning. After all these months they have finally returned to Duck Landing. A handful of them were, in fact, roosting on the cement precipice when I came around the bend. I startled them, and they soon flew off or just plopped into the water under the drain area.
As I was enjoying the Park’s peace and tranquility, that ambiance was enhanced by the usual squirrels waylaying me along the path. I started to draw my camera out of my pocket, then thought – there can be too many squirrel photos, much as I enjoy their antics. Like the ducks, it all becomes a blur after awhile.
Besides … I brought my camera along for the sole purpose of taking a final Fall shot at the gateway to the Park. I have taken pictures in all the seasons thus far, except Winter; in fact, I’ve shot a series of Fall photos with the leaves in various colors and today the same trees are now bare.
My mother liked to work on jigsaw puzzles. Some of them were really complicated and often she would spend many hours looking for those one or two elusive pieces to complete a section. Once, she had an especially difficult puzzle which was one beautiful tree in all four seasons – how different it looked! I was trying to emulate that same beautiful tree and will make a collage to capture the four seasons once the snow arrives and settles on the bare branches of the trees at the Park entrance.
The squirrels indeed came bopping out of the bushes, awaiting handouts. I use the term “bop” loosely as their girth makes their gait more of a waddle since they are so chubby nowadays. They got those treats, plus a smile and a “hi sweetie” – hey, it doesn’t get any better than that if you’re a squirrel … in my opinion anyway. Soon they sat on haunches, a peanut clutched in their front paws, then stealthily crept off stealing one to hide for later. They really didn’t have to do that since I left a surprise pile at the side of trail for them just before I resumed my walk. When I returned for the second time around, cracked shells were strewn every place I had made a pit, er … peanut stop.
As I walked along the path, with the leaves all gone, I had a perfectly clear view through to the water and I was mindful of the drab surroundings. The Park looks so barren as the picnic tables have been stacked up in a padlocked area along with numerous trash barrels. The pavilion is bare as well and everything looks a little lackluster. So, I was caught up in the moment and the reality that Winter will soon be here with a vengeance.
I was pondering nothing in particular when suddenly the clanging of the bells began signaling the arrival of the train to Emmons Boulevard. It interrupted the still morn. The bells clanged incessantly, and gradually the train neared and the rhythmic chugging along the tracks was almost hypnotic – it must’ve been a very long train as it took forever to pass.
I kept walking, occasionally stooping over to tender more peanuts. All the while I kept my eyes peeled for the deer or raccoon, but it seems their appearance was an anomaly and they are long gone.
As I finished up the last leg of my trip on the trail, bells were pealing at a nearby church as it summoned its parishioners to hurry up and get seated and not to be late.
I am happy that I dusted off my digital camera earlier this year to get some pictures to accompany the vignettes of my daily treks. Before that I relied mostly on stock photos.
Back in the day, during and after college, I travelled alot and was an avid photographer. I took a few photography classes to learn some techniques to use with my 35mm camera. I tried to take a trip once a year, and, of course, I had to have my big camera bag weighing me down all the time, a tripod hanging off to one side, and extra canisters of film … just in case. I was constantly changing lenses and forever fiddling with filters and F-stops. Then, long before digital cameras and smart phones, I simplified my life when I bought a pocket camera and gradually starting leaving all the 35mm equipment ensconced in the big padded bag behind. Eventually I stopped using the 35mm camera altogether.
My digital camera captures the essence of my daily walks and is quite handy and effortless. No more peering at negatives to try to figure out what was your best shot and sometimes guessing wrong and getting extra copies made of a dud photograph. It’s easy to pick and choose on your computer screen now – just a few mouse clicks to keep or delete. And shooting is a breeze … that is, as long as your subject doesn’t run or fly faster than you can click the button. My ratio of shots taken versus shots used is abominable. Maybe I’ll make it my New Year’s resolution to enhance my photography skills in 2015
So on this feel-good day, I racked up another five miles. Though I had reached my goal and this is just for fun now, it felt good to get out and about and enjoy the day. Guess I’ll have to ponder on whether I count these extra miles so that I have to top this number next year or are these just “gravy”?
I leave you with a metaphor to sum up this Sunday:
“Life is like a camera. Focus on what’s important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out, just take another shot.” – Anonymous