Last Sunday’s walk in the still-snowy Park left me quite giddy. It was a beautiful, sunshiny day, I walked five miles and took lots of photos which I used in Sunday’s blog post.
The following day, the rain clouds gathered in earnest and a week of incessant rain began.
I got drenched in Monday’s walk, stayed close to home for Tuesday’s trek, Wednesday and Friday were total washouts, and Thursday morning, finally a dry day, was delegated for errands.
It was a week that seemed to get progressively worse as each day passed … and, I don’t just mean the weather.
The national news was not any better, with the aftermath of the Florida shootings taking precedence in the headlines – you’ve read about them too … they made me numb.
The local news was jam-packed with tales of flooding and potholes. On Thursday, the high school I attended had a massive no-show of students, after rumors ran rampant of a threat of a copycat Florida school shooting. Later that same day, there were a barricaded gunmen in a Chinese restaurant a mile from my home. The latter two incidents just made me number.
We were incredibly busy at work this week, and, I told myself that even if it rained this morning, I was going to escape the news of the world, and the confines of the house, to head to Council Point Park for a long walk to reboot my brain.
Well, it didn’t rain this morning, but the sky was very overcast, and it was dreary and dismal looking as I headed out.
Enroute to the Park, I could not help but notice these pretty snowdrops under a big tree. Every year, they are the first flowers in the neighborhood to poke through the soil. Their appearance makes me think that Spring cannot be that far off.
Once at the Park, I was surprised to find a few piles of snow in the parking lot, which somehow lingered, despite Tuesday’s mild weather and those multiple bouts of torrential rain. While I stole a glance at those snow piles, along came a trio of my furry friends, beating a path to meet me. They didn’t even wait for me to get to the pavilion area. I hustled them out of the parking lot in case a car came along, then led them over to the water fountain. After sprinkling out some peanuts, a feeding frenzy soon ensued. I took out the camera since they were busy eating and got a few pictures, then moseyed along.
As you can see in the photo at the top of this post, the Creek is now flowing again, with no surface ice. The docks are no longer embedded in the ice, nor are they covered in snow.
I stopped in my tracks as I heard a red-winged blackbird singing from the top of this tall tree. He was easy to spot between the bare branches, his black body silhouetted against the gray sky. Even by zooming in, I could not get the red and yellow stripes on his wing to stand out. But, what I could see, was this songbird’s slight fluttering of his wings and throat pulsing each time he trilled his notes. It reminded me of Summer when these birds are in nearly every tree in the marshy area of the Creek.
I saw Parker, my favorite squirrel, or, maybe I should say he saw me first, as I was trying to take some pictures of the red-winged blackbird. He announced his arrival, since my focus was on taking the picture, by scurrying over to the toe of my boot as he awaited his peanuts. Of course, I had to take his picture …
… and then, I got a second pose from Parker. Who could resist such a wistful look that seemed to say “pretty please, could I get my peanuts now?”
Of course, once you start doling out peanuts, from their perch high up in a tree, or across the walking loop, suddenly all eyes are focused on goodies, like this squirrel, who wanted to know “what’s happening over there?”
I saw Todd, the weekend jogger, way over on the other side of the loop and decided to take his picture since I always mention him in my blog posts. If you look closely in the background on the left-hand side, Mr. Heron has settled himself into a tree, a different weathered tree than last weekend.
I walked to the end of the cement landing to get a better look. Last Sunday I got a flattering picture of him, but he doesn’t look as good today – that bird either had his head tucked under his wing, or has some serious bed head!
I got back on the trail and noticed a dog walker glancing up at a tree. Even at a distance, I could tell the woman seemed transfixed by what she saw. Being the inquisitive person that I am, I was going to see what she was checking out, but she nabbed me first. She said “look up there – does it look like what I think it is?” I took one look and shook my head in agreement. She took the words out of my mouth by saying “why is a rat or a mouse hanging by its tail on a tree branch?” Hmmm. No one else happened by to help analyze this rather spooky mystery with us. We surmise the rodent climbed up to the top of the tree, and maybe went into some critter’s nest … but then what happened? And, yes, in case you were wondering … it was real and it was definitely dead as a doornail. I hope those gusty winds the weatherman is predicting for tomorrow doesn’t make the branch break off when I’m walking by.
After a half-hour of chatter, we finally introduced ourselves and were discussing this and that while Biggy, who was growing increasingly bored, kept straining at his leash, occasionally shooting me a look of disdain for holding up his walk and squirrel-chasing efforts.
I know Biggy didn’t quite know what to make of me, and meanwhile Christine and I didn’t know what to make of this scene. We finally parted, going in opposite ways on the trail.
I decided it was a trifecta for critters-in-the-trees activity.
It might have been a gray day, but not awfully bad for the last weekend in February. My mission was accomplished: five miles walked, brain aired out and ready to take on the world again.