The past few days have been splendiferous and since Ol’ Man Sol was actually around, I could start my walk earlier, thus eking out five miles each day. Last Sunday, the weatherman said we’d have great Fall weather (‘bout time) through next Sunday evening and I was ecstatic since it is all about bulking up my steps right now before the snow starts a flyin’. By Tuesday, there was a slim possibility of rain on Saturday and on Wednesday it was “sorry folks, we’ll have off-and-on bouts of showers and cold weather Saturday and a couple of rain showers on Sunday.”
I wasn’t happy to hear that – another weekend tarnished by bad weather. For me, it’s hard to embrace a rainy walk at any time, let alone, when the air temperature is around 40 degrees.
So, these sunny days have been welcome and I’ve been wearing a silly grin on my face, just like this scarecrow.
It was really cold when I went out this morning. We’d had another hard freeze and there was a frosty glaze on the grass. Right away I saw my breath, a swirl of thin vapor that filled the morning air. The chimneys were spouting out great puffs of smoke. This is way too early for all this nonsense. Not only did I hear the crunch of leaves when I scuffed through them as I made my way to Council Point Park, but the sound of ice scrapers doing their work on car windshields also factored into the morning noise equation.
At the Park I was told there was another coyote sighting in the field by the large electrical tower – well great, just great. But my walk was without incident … three loops, two on the interesting side, and one on the boring side, peanuts doled out, smiling faces (well I think the squirrels look like they are smiling sometimes). I left the Park and checked for Parker and pals at our usual “meet-up rock” and he was nowhere to be found, so I began wending my way along Pagel Avenue to head home.
I’d already tucked the camera away, closed the Ziploc bag of peanuts and zipped up my coat, when suddenly I heard a rustling noise. It was close by. Was it the coyote prowling around the ‘hood? I saw no wild critter when my eyes took in a cursory view of the street, but I did glimpse a Fox Squirrel sitting atop a massive, lumpy-looking pumpkin that was part of a homeowner’s harvest décor. Oh, for goodness sake – I had to get a picture of this squirrel sitting there like he was King of the Hill. I knew the photo would not come out very well as it was quite shady thanks to a big tree on the City property, but I dragged out the camera anyway.
He looked right at me with a rather indignant look on his face, so I got this shot …
… and then he bolted from the pumpkin top to quickly scramble up the cornstalk to hide from me. I wanted to call out “I still can see you, but you do blend into that cornstalk nicely.”
He made a loud rustling sound, as he climbed and maneuvered around the dry cornstalk, his sharp nails hugging the tree and his furry body blending into the brown and ochre-colored background. I took out the Ziploc bag and shook it, then put down some peanuts. The peanuts on the sidewalk piqued his interest and seemingly was an incentive to pose, so he turned upside down and headed down toward the top of the pumpkin again, but he was stubborn and made no move to come over to see me.
At least I now knew what the initial rustling noise was I heard. There was a little black squirrel similarly climbing around the cornstalk only in the back.
I left him some peanuts on the sidewalk too, but he didn’t budge from exploring the smaller pumpkins and probably trying to take a chunk out of them. I was already running late and figured I’d better pick up the pace, so I tucked the camera away and headed for home. But in the next block was another black squirrel who was perched on a small rustic wood wagon. He was eating the mum plant and it would have been a great shot had the camera been handy. I reached to unzip my coat and he bolted, scared by the sudden movement of my hand. He hi-tailed it up a tree.
Then from his lookout he studied me. I offered peanuts and a little sweet talk and soon convinced him to clamber down from the tree, get some peanuts and pose for me.
I dropped a pile of peanuts at his feet when he was at ground-level and said “now that wasn’t so bad was it?” He was so cute and enjoying his peanuts so much, I almost picked him up under my arm to take him home as a pet.
The sun sure felt good and I hated to end my walk, but knew I must get home for work. I had a double treat … walking in my favorite nature nook and some harvest time happiness in the ‘hood.
I’ll leave you with this quote:
“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” ~~ F. Scott Fitzgerald