A Fall preview is in play these days, with glimpses of Fall colors which have begun to appear along the perimeter path at Council Point Park.
Less than a week ago, we flipped our calendar page to September. That coolish weather we’ve experienced so much over the past few weeks seems to be causing more and more crumpled leaves to litter the asphalt walking path, and, at the Park, what leaves are left are mostly green, though some of the trees, and even the larger weeds, are already sporting their Fall jewel-toned hues with leaves tinged with red or yellow.
It is not just the pretty leaves which add a touch of color at the Park. The wild chokecherries have finally ripened and that tree, which was kind of blah all Summer, is now laden with bright-red fruit.
Even the goldenrod has reached its peak and those tall weeds actually look bright and cheery along the trail.
Yes, Fall seems to have settled right in, much earlier than we wanted it to, or the calendar date says it is so. After a week of piling on more and more layers, I went back to gloves again this morning, since, when I stepped outside, it was only 50 degrees. I think this Fall-like weather is here to stay.
The weather is always a topic of conversation at the Park and this morning was no exception. Hoodies were pulled over heads and hands were pulled up beyond the cuffs of sleeves. “Good mornings!” were exchanged between walkers through lips that were numb.
I kept my jacket zipped up to stay warm. I was carrying the bag of peanuts in my jacket pocket and fumbling to put back on my gloves, having just fed a squirrel, when suddenly I saw a long and furry ringed tail disappearing into a bush. That quick glimpse told me there was no mistaking that tail belonged to a raccoon.
I shook my head “no” as if to dispel that thought, but I stopped and kept my eyes trained on the bush for another “sighting” anyway, and, sure enough, within a few minutes a little furry face with its black “mask” suddenly popped out from between the leaves of the bush where it had scurried as I approached. It peered at me, then disappeared into the dense bushes near the water.
So, I was NOT wrong the first time – it WAS a raccoon. It wasn’t very big and he (or she) never came out of hiding, so I finally moved on. It was just as well, as the camera was in its case and buried under my jacket, so it was not easily accessible. I’ll look again tomorrow for this little guy and see if he or she is available for a photo opportunity.
When I first began walking at Council Point Park, I arrived there one morning to find the walkers all aflutter because the animal control officer had just left with a big raccoon in tow. I was sorry that I had not arrived there just a few minutes earlier to see that cute little critter.
One of my favorite books when I was a youngster was “Rascal” by Sterling North After I read it (and re-read it several times), I remembering begging my parents to let me have a raccoon for a pet. Of course, living in the city made that impossible, but I could dream it about at least. Years after the book’s release, I saw the movie “Rascal” and, though I was older by then and no longer coveted a raccoon for a pet, I still got a kick out of Rascal’s antics and his cute mask-like face.
I’ve never seen a raccoon in “real life” though. That is, until this morning.
Just like that raccoon, I did some scurrying of my own at the Park. “Brisk” and “breezy” were the best descriptions of the weather. My round trip to Council Point Park and three loops walked yielded another five miles to my tally.
Dear Ms. “Brisk & Breezy”…………………………….you write so well…………………..I actually wish i could be there walking at Council Point Park and seeing the sights you wrote about
Thanks Ann Marie – that is nice of you to say that. We should get together one morning at Council Point Park before the snow flies. I look for those woolly bear caterpillars on the perimeter path every day, thinking of you because that is how we met. You asked me what I was doing when I was taking a picture of caterpillar and I told you the folklore about it. I hope I see that raccoon again, though I wondered as I was walking home if I should have contacted the Lincoln Park animal control to come get it, but it was not out in the open. If I see it again, I’ll let them know, but if it is hiding in the bushes, I doubt they will come and fetch it.