I was feeling lucky to have wended my way down to Council Point Park, and along the trail, for the second day in a row in mid-January. The lack of black ice on the sidewalks I traversed, or even the Park path, made for an uneventful addition of four miles each day, marking my total miles at 24 in this young year.
At the Park, I wasn’t the only one braving windchills in the teens. Todd, the weekend jogger, was suited up in multiple layers and a young man tried to reel his black hound in, after he discovered a squirrel and took off at a fast clip, leaving his poor master loping behind him. There was a pair of walkers who shuffled along, trying to converse with frozen lips, with their heads bent down against the cold wind.
Yesterday I packed a few peanut butter sammies for my squirrel pals, but, clearly those critters are too well fed, judging from their girth and a gait that sometimes could be described as a waddle. Several of them came up to me, took a hesitant sniff at the offerings, then kept on going. Hmmmm. I said “suit yourself” and then I, too, walked away. Of course, I couldn’t resist looking back to see if they were at least sampling the sandwiches, or, alternatively getting a bad attitude since it was not peanuts in the shell. After a glance back, or two … or three, I kept walking, so I don’t know the eventual status, but those crusty hunks of peanut goodness were not on the trail this morning, so I guess they used their good judgment in the end.
The squirrels are not the only critters at the Park who enjoy the peanuts in the shell that get tossed their way by kindly souls that reap smiles and self-satisfaction from feeding the Park “wildlife”. The blue jays similarly enjoy those peanuts, and, just like in your own neighborhood, they will swoop down from a high branch when they see peanuts suddenly scattered on the ground.
This morning, a blue jay streaked out of the sky after a young man tossed a couple of peanuts onto the asphalt, shortly before I got to that location. As I approached the scene, I noticed the squirrel had already pilfered one “to go” and came scampering back for his second helping. But, Mr. Squirrel was met by Mr. Blue Jay who angrily screeched at him, then planted his two delicate feet onto the ground, with his sharp beak clamped down on that peanut, which he believed was rightfully his. I stopped to watch this brief interplay, thinking the squirrel would retreat when he saw that the blue jay meant business. Instead, he stood there with a dumbfounded look, and the blue jay quickly took flight, with the prized peanut.
“You win some, you lose some” I told the squirrel as I walked on by.
After my little respite at the Park, I came home to find my boss had phoned me while I was out. He had planned to call yesterday to tell me how his road trip from Garden Grove, California to Santa Fe, New Mexico was going, but I never got a call, or an e-mail. I figured he was busy driving, sightseeing and enjoying himself, so he forgot about me.
He called later to tell me that, after driving 600 miles on Saturday, last night he had encountered horrible weather in northern Arizona. There were snowsqualls and whiteout conditions on the highway and it was treacherous driving. Robb said it was a desolate area, and he had no radio, cellphone or laptop signal. I encouraged him to forego the last leg of this trip, which he had planned for R&R and to see the sights of New Mexico, a state he had never before visited, and I’d make some alternate arrangements for him, but he elected to “tough it out” instead.
Just like the squirrel and the jay, this time the tables are turned … the jay got the prize at the Park, and, in the long run, who knew that the better weather would turn out to be Southeast Michigan and not the Southwest United States?
[Image by Yinanchen at Unsplash]