Taking it in stride.

tree and squirrel in sky

Spring is just ten days from today.

The calendar says it’s so.

But, this morning it seemed a little difficult to think Spring-y thoughts when the temperature was 25 degrees and the north wind was a’ blowin’.

Forget those negative thoughts though, because that bright sunshine sure perked up my spirits and put a spring in my step, the instant I got outside.

Sometimes, as to the subject of Michigan weather, you just have to take it in stride.  Even with Spring around the corner, the weather this time of year is so erratic.  We’ve had snow in April many times.  So, you just have to seize the day and get out and enjoy yourself.

And that’s just what I did.

This morning, the screen door had not even closed, when I noticed an unusual sight in the yard behind my neighbor’s house.  At first, I wondered if my eyes were playing tricks on me?  Was that really a huge rubber ducky visible in the above-ground pool?  Well, yes it was.  That big yellow duck and a handful of pool toys were not bobbing around in the water, but sitting atop the pool liner.  I took a photo of this summery scene, ensuring that snapshot included a wintry scene as well, that swath of snow that still remains on the grass next door.


It was still early as I made my way through the neighborhood to Council Point Park.  I stopped to check how those perky snowdrops were doing, and whether any of them had been smooshed by the icy precip earlier this week – surprisingly, they all still looked good.

We all know, that along with Springtime, comes Spring cleaning, and I noticed even the playhouse at this home was getting aired out.


As I cut through the parking lot to head to the perimeter path, I saw several of the regular walkers that I recognized right away.  They were not close enough to say “hey” or even “Happy New Year!” and, no … I did not know them by their vehicles, nor their puffy jackets or knitted caps, but I knew them by their stride.

Some walkers stride purposely like they are race walking, where others take a more leisurely approach, picking their way along the pathway, stopping to catch the sights and enjoy all the ambiance that this nature nook has to offer.  I am in that latter category, especially on the weekend. when I have more time to take photos and occasionally stop to chitchat.  I’ve also noticed some people keep their arms tucked down by their side, where others bend their elbows, or pump their arms vigorously while walking.  Funny, how one can identify, at a glance, these individual characteristics of the dozen or so folks who regularly walk at the Park during the same time frame as me.  Slowly, but surely, the regular walkers are returning to their morning regimen … perhaps they’ve been mall walking or using a treadmill at home, but, I sense that they, like me, are happy to be back.  Some I’ve not seen since Thanksgiving as we had a big snow event in early December.

As usual, I started in the first loop.  This where all the action is as far as critters and waterfowl.  I stopped only to feed the squirrels, then walked the same loop again, this time with the camera in hand and the bag of peanuts pushed down into my pocket.

I noticed Todd had already discarded his hoodie on a park bench, and it had slipped onto the ground.  He tends to shed his clothing the further he gets into his jogging routine, and, it’s not unusual to see clothes laying on various Park benches, even in the Winter.  He’ll collect them on his last jog around the Park.  I really wasn’t all that warm, but then, I was merely strolling along, not running, and I wasn’t about to shed one iota of my layers of clothing.


In my posts, I’ve been mentioning the thin veil of ice that covers some portions of the Ecorse Creek.  This morning, as I gazed into the water, I thought the sun’s rays made that ice resemble a cracked antique mirror.


I noticed there was still snow in the area where the mute swan and I had our brief visit last week.  There was the blue metal park bench, where I momentarily thought I’d might climb upon to escape that long pointed orange beak if need be.  Luckily those peanuts kept the swan at bay ‘til I could get away.

2-snow from swan.jpg

There were no mute swans today, but I swear there was a speaker system at the Park for the waterfowl and it was set to “high” because the geese were honking so loudly that it sounded like rush hour in the City of Detroit.  Their incessant honking carried into the still-quiet morning and I wandered close to the water to take a gander at those geese.  I must’ve spooked them because about four of them took off in a flurry, leaving two behind wondering if it was something THEY did?  They soothed their wounded feelings by paddling around with a few ducks who were easier to get along with.

5 everbody

The geese were not the only ones that were skittish this morning.  I saw the heron across the Creek.  He was standing on a submerged tree, his neck scrunched down close to his body.  From my vantage point in the bushes, I was able to take a photo of him, though it was not very sharp.

3-heron on log

A second later,  he extended that long neck, and used those spindly legs to switch positions, giving me the cold shoulder.

3-heron turns around

Just as I mused to myself that this heron and I have developed a love-hate relationship, thus I expected him to bolt the first chance he got, there he went … a bluish-gray blur headed down the Ecorse Creek passageway.

Yup, he was probably thinking “well, that will fix you and your picture-taking expedition!”

3-heron flies away

It was a gorgeous day, with the beautiful blue sky, marred by just an occasional cloud.

one cloud

I was enjoying my walk, when Parker, likely having squirreled away some of the peanuts I had given him the first go-around, spied me from high up in the tree, and hurried right down.  I watched him doing some fancy footwork in order to stand on a big knothole, while he pondered whether I might be up for seconds.

6-parker on tree

Yes, I was agreeable and pulled out the bag of peanuts to demonstrate this; he was down to ground level and over by my side in a heartbeat.

I walked a little more and, using a tree for cover, watched a drake and its mate sunbathing on the cement landing.  I got a fuzzy-looking photo, but …

4-sunbathing ducksb

… when I raised my arms to take a better shot, the fabric in my coat rustled and the pair went into a tailspin, quacking their heads off and flew away.  I decided to give the picture-taking a rest and concentrate on just walking the rest of my time at the Park.

I caught up with Joanne, one of the regular walkers, and we walked another loop together and, as we said our goodbyes, I saw the sun had become noticeably absent and the sky was suddenly an angry-looking gray, so I couldn’t help myself and pulled the camera out for one last time.

dark sky


About lindasschaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, and this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for over three decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, although I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too.
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35 Responses to Taking it in stride.

  1. Beautiful photos! I particularly liked the one of the heron taking off.

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Anne – I am not complaining about the sun, but I had some big shadows on alot of my pictures from the angle of the sun. I just went ahead and used them anyway, to go with the story. That heron is so scraggly looking, he reminds me of those prehistoric terradactyls. You have to have your camera constantly in your hands to capture something like the heron flying away. The ducks and geese bolt and they are gone in a flash. Wasn’t that sky incredible how it got so dark at the end? Tomorrow is supposed to be a carbon copy of today.

      • I think we may have rain tomorrow.

      • lindasschaub says:

        Hopefully after you have a Sunday stroll.

      • When do you walk on Sunday? We take Sundays off, because we drive to Asheville to church.

      • lindasschaub says:

        Actually I don’t go to church anymore. I am Catholic, but never made my communion or confirmation or had any real religious upbringing. When I was young, my father worked six days a week and would not get up for church, and my mom didn’t drive, so she would send me off to Sunday School with my current girlfriend. When I was growing up, I went to Lutheran and Episcopalian churches for Sunday School and church services, and, when we moved here from Canada, I had a pal who was a Southern Baptist, so I went to Sunday School and church services with her. I wish I had Catholic teachings, but, I feel awkward when I have to go to church as I don’t know what to do. I have two friends who are nuns. One is Ann Marie, my friend I met while walking at Council Point Park. We walked together if we happened to get there at the same time. She had just retired from teaching third grade. But she moved to another city three years ago – her husband is older and in ill health, and she was having to do everything inside/outside the house, and they have no kids, no family (just an Amazon Grey Parrot) and so they moved to an apartment. My other friend, also an ex-nun, retired a few years ago, after her husband had a series of strokes. This friend (Sandy) found out that Marge had died and wanted to have special prayers read at the church and asked me if I would join her – I told her I feel awkward as I’ve only been to a Catholic church with my grandmother years ago and at her and my grandfather’s funerals. I also go to light candles for my mom and grandmother on a regular basis. I did go for a walk this morning – went to the River and am uploading pictures now and wrote to Evelyn so she sees my question when she goes online about her favorite BBQ place. I do remember that when she would go back home to visit her mom several times a year, she would always stop at the BBQ place and take it to the senior citizen complex with her. I looked at the menu where her mom lived – it was a fancy place and they had this fine dining and Evelyn told her that “those meals were nice, but she needed some down home cooking to fatten her up” … her mom prided herself on staying at about 90 pounds. Yikes!

      • You’ve had a taste of a lot of Protestant churches! I grew up in the Presbyterian church and became Lutheran when I married John. I don’t know what Catholic church might be near you, but I have a relative of a relative who is extremely happy as a Catholic. She became increasingly unhappy with her denomination and took instruction with a class of adults. Would that interest you, to learn more about the beliefs and worship? You wouldn’t have to commit yourself unless you resonated with what you learned.

        Can you imagine being alive and weighing only 90 pounds? One of our daughters was about 95 until she was in her 30s. She is a more normal weight now.

      • lindasschaub says:

        Yes I did get a taste of different churches growing up. My mom really wanted me to have some religious upbringing and this was the best solution. She was raised a Catholic and attended church regularly and made her communion, etc. I never really thought about it to be honest – I should do that and my two friends would be happy to hear I would do that and could probably point me in the right direction in that regard. I go to light candles where my friend Sandy attends church. She is very active with the church and is in the choir as well.

        I can’t imagine being that tiny. I am 5 foot, 9 inches tall, and my mom was 5 foot, 2 inches and my father an inch taller. But they were petite in stature but not skinny – this is seriously skinny. 95 pounds is very thin as well. Thank you for your suggestions Anne.

      • Lutherans are first cousins of Catholics. We have your legacy of liturgy and music, along with agreement about many theological points.

      • lindasschaub says:

        I didn’t know that. Now I have learned something today.

      • We’ve just celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, when Martin Luther challenged some practices of the Catholic Church. He wanted to reform things, not break away.

      • lindasschaub says:

        I never knew that – I have never studied anything related to Catholicism. Part of my reluctance to go to church is because I am unfamiliar with the teachings. It has been a long time since I attended regularly – I did go with my friend to the Baptist Church, plus vacation bible school, plus “Pioneer Girls” which was a group like Brownies or Girl Scouts, only affiliated with the church. That’s been since the late 60s though.

      • My girls belonged to Pioneer Girls for several years. I think the group disbanded while we lived in England.

      • lindasschaub says:

        I’ve never known anyone else who was in Pioneer Girls and assumed it was just a local organization here in Michigan. I was still in Brownies in Canada, but had not advanced to Girl Guides yet (probably not old enough … I had just turned 10 when we moved here), so when we moved to the States, my mom tried to get me into Girl Scouts and they said they were all filled up. My mom even said she could volunteer to do things like bake or correspondence that was needed, but not to go there as a leader as it was difficult for her to get around and she did not drive. But no go. So, I joined Pioneer Girls with the girl I went to the Baptist church with. We did all kinds of activities, very similar to Girl Scouts, especially the outings. Can’t remember if there was a uniform though -maybe just a royal blue sash of some type as I recall?

      • Our girls had the blue uniform. The leader ordered the patterns and the official material. I sewed nearly all the clothes the girls and I wore, but that pattern was insane. I paid the vicar’s wife to sew ours.

      • lindasschaub says:

        I thought it was blue. I couldn’t remember wearing an outfit and I know I went for several years to Pioneer Girls, so that’s why I thought it was just a sash.

        I used to sew my own clothes in high school. I am 5′ 9″ tall and back then, there were no clothes for females that were in tall sizes for long legs and arms and everything looked like it belonged to my little sister. I was not a good seamstress and my mom used to finish off everything, she would set in sleeves, do basting, hemming … so I guess we jointly made each outfit. She would say “Linda … are you taking credit for this outfit?” 🙂

      • You might very well have had only the sash. Our leader was a stickler for appearances.

      • lindasschaub says:

        I am still trying to remember – I do know we got dressed up in school clothes to go there – no pants or play-type clothes. I would have thought maybe a dark skirt, white blouse and the sash. We were not a large group of girls, just all who went to the First Baptist Church. Had a great leader, Dorothy Perry – can picture her to this day.

      • I had not remembered our girls had hats. I wonder if they relaxed the uniform rule, because all the girls had hats the first two years and not later.

      • lindasschaub says:

        Maybe they changed when the girls got older?

        When I was in Brownies, (and mind you, this was in Canada and things may have been different there), I seem to remember that we had different “levels” of Brownies and I think different types of uniforms. As we matured, so did our uniforms. We had dresses that we wore, which looked like a shirtwaist, and a brown leather belt with a pouch where we were supposed to keep our Brownie record book … this was our motto book, our record of badges earned – I have a picture of myself in a Brownie uniform just before we moved to the U.S. (so around 1966). I remember we had the dark brown wool beret, and a scarf (white with ornge leaves), and a sash to display our badges.

        So, maybe it wasn’t relaxing the rules, but maybe the clothing changed as the girls matured. I want to say that Brownies had “Sprites” … maybe that was a younger level … did they have that for Pioneer Girls? I belonged from about 1966 to 1969.

        After writing this comment, it dawned on me that somewhere online there would be a write-up on Pioneer Girls, even it was disbanded … sure enough there was and it looks like it morphed into another name and may still be going strong:


      • That was fun to look at.

        I was a Brownie for a year, maybe two, before the leader moved away. Boy Scouts were strong in our town, but we didn’t have Girl Scouts, probably because no one would lead it.

      • lindasschaub says:

        I liked being in Brownies. I was going to use the picture that I scanned in back at Thanksgiving when I scanned in all my albums and scrapbooks. I scanned them in, but many of the photos have to be tweaked as they scanned in as several photos on one page so they have to be separated and snipping tool used to create new pictures. That was my project for this Winter – I only got done about 10 pictures and those like I used for the “snow when I was a kid” post and the old-time photos for Valentine’s Day. The rest are scanned in – maybe it will be retirement now, and/or an as-needed basis.

        I thought that site was fun as well. They did show the uniform – was that like what you sewed? I am trying to remember if we had the book and some of the other items they showed. Isn’t Google wonderful – it seems you can find something about everything that you go searching for!

      • I couldn’t tell if the uniform was the same.

        I scanned all the slides I had — a project that took five years. The process was so slow that I couldn’t stand to do more than five or ten a day. I’m so glad I did it.

      • I have three photos of Pioneer Girls to share with you, but I don’t know how to attach them here. Would you be willing to go to my site to the Contact page? If you sent me a message, I’d have your email address to reply. That’s assuming you trust me with your address. Maybe you don’t give it out to anyone.

      • lindasschaub says:

        OK, no problem Anne – I would like to see it. I will send you a “contact me” … I am glad I will have your e-mail anyway. 🙂

  2. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Miss Linda……………………..yes those snowflakes were large and fluffy like weren’t they?,……………….I love the pictures you took………………………they are noteworthy……………and only you can make them sound so pleasant with your gift of words………………..and yes our pond looked just like you described the thin ice on the creek: like a “cracked antique mirror.”

    • lindasschaub says:

      Ann Marie – I was sure we’d have snow from the looks of that sky. I am glad you liked this post. I always wonder just how thick that ice is – I initially thought the heron was standing on a submerged log, like the ducks, and even the geese do sometimes do, all year long, but after I got the pictures uploaded and on the computer screen, it appeared he might have been standing on the ice … even as scrawny as he is, the ice seemed too thin to support his weight.

  3. Uncle Tree says:

    Glad to hear you finally got a decent day up there. We’re having snow flurries currently, but it won’t amount to much. By the end of the week, it will feel like Spring here.

    Nice pic of Parker on the knot! 🙂 He looks fat and healthy. Good on you!
    Hope you have a great Sunday! Peace and luvz, UT

    • lindasschaub says:

      We had a decent day today as well Uncle Tree, beautiful and sunny, but still cold … just 25 degrees.

      Today I went back to the Detroit River to the park along the riverfront that had the eagles. No eagles in the trees today and no more ice floes. But the water was sparkling and shimmering from the sun and the water was so clear, you can see the big webbed feet of the swans, ducks and geese … now that kind of fascinated me because when I was researching the sounds that swans make last weekend, I discovered that swans only paddle with one foot sometimes.
      They only use two feet for “taking off” into the air (remember Wayne had a few pictures of a trumpet swan using its big feet to propel it into the air for takeoff?) Anyway, they paddle with both feet if they are swimming away from danger, and often only use one foot to simple paddle along and rest one leg/foot at a time. I watched the swans today in the clear water … yes that happened with one foot. Maybe I’ll mention that in my blog post – it will probably bore everyone though.

      I hope the pictures come out … the sun was brilliant on the water and so hard to see with the point-and-shoot camera. I see my face and glasses. Next time I need a new camera, if Canon has a digital camera with more zoom (24X) and a viewfinder, I will get that … I do miss the viewfinder on sunny days.

      I liked that shot of Parker too – it looked like he would have a hard time clinging to that knot but I guess his sharp claws kept him anchored on tightly. Well, my pictures have uploaded – now I’ll see how many duds I have.

      I was just thinking of you as on the national news they said the maple syrup was earlier in New England this year. They didn’t know why, but historically it starts flowing later in March – this was early. I went one time for Brownies with our troop to a farm to watch them draw the sap and make maple syrup and syrup candy.

  4. Linda – I’m enjoying going on these walks with you and getting to know the critters and the other walkers. The big duck is funny I think the owner is mirroring my thoughts – hurry up warm weather! The guy that strips his clothing would be me. I start out cold when I begin my morning farm chores, but about halfway through I have a stash of removed clothing in various locations – then I usually have to remove a chicken, cat or dog to get it back. That Parker – we could be friends… xo kim

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you – I try to do longer posts on weekends when the weather is nice and include more photos so people get the feeling they traveled alongside me. Todd is funny, as he keeps shedding layers and in the Summer, all the way down to his jogging shorts. In the Winter he had on short-sleeves and I said “aren’t you cold?” and he says “when I run, I’m like a wild animal and don’t feel the cold!”

      I’m looking forward to warmer weather – 9 articles of clothing to go walk all Winter. Takes me a good 20 minutes to get suited up to go outside, but it is all open spaces at the Park, so very blustery and cold down there, so have to be dressed for it.

      I love that little squirrel – I named him Parker back in December, because I take the car to the Park a couple of times a week, just to drive it around a little, and often when I walk, he’ll see me cutting across the parking lot which you have to go through to get on the trail, so he’ll run to meet me. So, sometimes when I drive, he recognizes the car and I’ll step out of the car, and there he is, that little furry body parked next to the car when I get out. Sometimes same thing when I leave – I’ll leave the Park and go to the parking lot, and he is there waiting patiently for me for more peanuts … needless to say he gets treated like a little prince.

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