Winter marches on, but I’ve resumed the walking regimen … for now.
Woo-hoo, I’ve walked a total of twelve miles in 2018, as of today. That lowly total is hardly something to brag about, and, I know I have a loooong way to go to top last year’s total of 1,050 miles walked in 2017.
In my defense, this year’s weather got me started off on the wrong foot, er … boot. Honestly, if it was not frosty temps with brutal wind chills, it was snowing, or freezing rain. Or the cement was covered in ice. How can I gain traction in my walking regimen, when I can barely gain traction to walk to the garage on an ice-slickened sidewalk? I’ve lost count how many times my morning agenda was shoveling.
So, I waited it all out, with crossed arms, while tapping my foot.
My patience finally paid off, and the past three mornings I’ve strayed over to Memorial Park which is fairly close to my house. I’ve been walking on the snowy grass, doing laps around the park, meandering past the memorial monuments to the City’s war dead and the big canon. The flag was flapping in the brisk breeze this morning – yes, that 20 mph wind and 22-degree temperature sure put some color in my cheeks, but, more importantly, I had a spring in my step once more, as I was glad to be back into the walking routine.
The bare trees and snow-covered benches made the park look very barren in shades of strictly black and white. I suspect after tomorrow’s brief warm-up, the grass will start peeking through the snow and add a touch of color to the landscape over there.
As I began my trek, I watched some chickadees flitting from branch to branch and wished I’d brought along some bread for them, even though they seemed a little skittish in my presence, and quickly relocated to another tree almost as soon as I encountered them. I wanted to call out “have no fear little ones, as I mean no harm and I’ll take care of you tomorrow.”
Also on that first complete lap around Memorial Park, I passed a group of squirrels playing tag. At first they were oblivious to me as they raced around in the snow, and up and down the trees. On that second go-around, they had finished playing but were scrounging for food, down on all fours, their muzzles covered in snow. I approached three of them, and tossed some peanuts in their direction, and watched those treats quickly disappear into the snow. It didn’t matter as the trio seemed wary of me and each one scampered away.
I tried to interact with those squirrels back in December when I was walking at this park, but, even then, they were not as friendly as the squirrels at Council Point Park, whose mamas teach them early how to beg once they catch sight of a human who has a pouch of peanuts in their hand or pocket. The squirrels are a big part of my daily walks at that venue, and, of course, when they’re standing up on haunches, flicking a furry tail and then creeping over to my walking shoe toes, just endears them to me more.
Clearly these Memorial Park critters need to be broken in, as they see me as a tall stranger tromping through their domain. Perhaps when the snow begins to fade away tomorrow, and they spy their peanuts that magically will appear, they’ll recognize me as a trusted friend to them going forward.
Today’s blog post photo is a painting by my artist friend Maggie Rust.