Peace at the Park.

parker in mulch

On the first day of this newly minted year, I arrived at Council Point Park, just a little later than usual.  That’s because firecrackers in the ‘hood were going off ‘til the wee hours of the morn, so I figured I could indulge myself and sleep in later.

I decided to drive and pulled into the parking lot to discover I was the only one there – the other walkers either took the day off, or arrived much earlier than me.  (The gentleman who proclaimed the squirrels were too well fed arrived about an hour later.)

To access the perimeter path to the first loop, I must pass through the pavilion area.  This is where I put all the seed treats on the picnic table under the pavilion roof.  As I approached that area, two things immediately caught my eye:  1)  Parker was scrambling over to meet me, and 2)  the memorial tree for Brian Skinner looked very different.

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I went over to look at that tree, with Parker trailing at my heels like a faithful dog.

You’ll recall the day after Thanksgiving I did a post about Brian Skinner’s memorial tree and the red and white wreaths that adorned it.  Here it is to refresh your memory:

Unlike many of the other memorial trees at the Park, this one is tended to all year around by Brian’s loved ones.  It is weeded, mulched and decorated for all the seasons or holidays.  I noticed immediately that one of the wreaths had been replaced by a new wooden plaque with a picture of Brian.  I perused the plaque carefully.

plaque

I saw some heartfelt words …

plaque close up

… and a collection of what looked to be some things that defined Brian.

Seeing the plaque, and reading the tribute verse, made me a little sad on this first day of 2019.  The heartache for those left behind was obvious.  Brian was a Mason, a Boy Scout leader, an avid sports fan and he loved his country.  I decided then and there to have a few minutes to reflect on this man who was taken at age 41, and then take a few pictures of this tree to share with you.

But first … some peanuts for Parker, who had stood at my side, patiently awaiting his treats, and, amazingly, whether it was because it was just him and I at this venue, and not a single soul – furry or otherwise – close by, he never danced around, climbed on my shoes, or looked up at me with pleading eyes.  He was content to sit there quietly at my side, as if he, too, was part of this reverent occasion.

Peace and tranquility sprinkled with a few peanuts.

I scattered a half-dozen of peanuts on the nearby path.   Parker went and got one, and stayed, so unlike his usual self that scurries off to bury one or two.

parker

Next Parker headed over to the mulch area beneath the tree, where he munched and watched me as I took some photos.

whole tree and plaque

I must also mention that there has been a hairbrush laying in the mulch beneath the tree for a few weeks now.

parker in mulch1

At first, I thought someone just dropped it, and it remained there, but obviously a family member had returned to take away one wreath and replace it with this plaque, yet they did not discard the hairbrush – perhaps it was Brian’s?  I understand from other walkers that they have seen family members gather around the tree, perhaps those loved ones mentioned in the tribute verse, and one walker told me he had been a Boy Scout leader, as had Brian, and the two had taken their scouts camping many years ago in this very Park.

Parker slipped away from beneath the tree, but still within my peripheral vision, and he took another peanut and jumped up on the adjacent blue metal Park bench seat portion where he continued to watch me.

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He was just a stone’s throw away the entire time I was taking pictures.

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Check out the fuzzy tail trailing out the back of the park bench.

proximity of bench

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While I took a few more pictures, Parker continued watching me with rapt attention.

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At times, he never moved a muscle.

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Should I feel his forehead?  Where is the little squirrel who is usually a bundle of energy?  Parker seemed content to sit nearby, and, when I was done taking the pictures of Brian Skinner’s tree and plaque, I was reluctant to leave.

So we both stayed there a little longer – after all, what was our hurry to go anywhere on this peaceful morning, each alone in our thoughts?  The serenity was finally broken when I decided we should probably move on and head down the perimeter path.  Parker once again walked alongside me until we spotted the rest of his pals and then bedlam arose, with furry bodies scurrying every which way – you all know that familiar scenario by now.

I thought of Brian Skinner today as I walked past his memorial tree – today was the 17th anniversary of his untimely passing.

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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36 Responses to Peace at the Park.

  1. Linda, you begin in style as expected. I have to admit the photo of Parker shows that he eats better than any others. You will have him stopping by to cut your lawn in the Spring. Nice camera work and good compositions. This year will be banner for you based on the beginnings.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks John – glad you are enjoying these posts … Parker is pretty chubby and now you know why the guy said that on New Year’s Day – he kept repeating it … they are downright roly poly, but Mother Nature gives them an extra layer of fat and fur to help out in Winter … so far we’ve had a fairly mild Winter and I am enjoying it … they say mid-January the real Winter will arrive -ugh.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Eliza says:

    D’you name all the squirrels?

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      No Eliza, because most of the Fox squirrels look alike (but shhhhh … don’t tell them I said that!) I named Parker as he has for the past 2-3 years, always come running over to greet me when I get there. I usually walk to the Park, as it is one mile each way from my house and he sees me, whether in the parking lot which I have to cross to get into the Park, or sometimes he sees me when I first start on the perimeter path. I named him Parker because one time when I drove to the Park to give my car a little run, there he was when I was done with my walk, his little body parked next to the car, refusing to budge and eyeing my Ziploc bag of peanuts. I have to watch that I don’t run over him when he does that., One other squirrel I named “Stubby” as he’s missing half of his tail. There is a squirrel in the neighborhood – cute little gray squirrel – I fed him a couple of times when I returned home from walking … one time is all it takes, and they will be returning daily! I called him “Grady” the gray squirrel.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Eliza says:

        Come here and you’ll see lots more grey squirrels. I’d never seen the colours until I saw yours! I used to think they were all just grey… The ones you get there also seem much bigger and fatter.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I like the smaller grey and black squirrels – they are a little apprehensive and not as brazen and bold as the bigger Fox squirrels. When we moved here from Canada, we had only had black squirrels in Canada and were surprised to see the big Fox squirrels. I can remember my grandmother coming over to visit and we never thought to mention the squirrels. She went out in the backyard to see the garden and came back in talking about those gigantic brown squirrels in the yard. I remember it like it was yesterday – had to be around 1976. She was fascinated by them – and she saw them in Summertime, not in Winter when they have their Winter layer of fat and extra fur.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Eliza says:

        I never knew that there are BLACK squirrels…. nor that they grow extra fat and fur… so cool that they do!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        The Fox squirrels like Parker get an extra layer of fat and they get more fur courtesy of Mother Nature. The black squirrels are the same size as your and my gray squirrels … very active and thin and very timid. This one was on the path at the Park and I am sure, since we never have black squirrels in this Park, that someone in the neighborood feeds him and they were on vacation because he came over to me and stayed and had peanuts – usually the black squirrels are quite shy and run up into a tree when they see you. I named him Midnight – saw him one day and never again. People in the Park were watching as he was so friendly – they know from their own neighborhoods how timid the black squirrels are: https://lindaschaubblog.net/2018/08/31/its-been-feeling-fallish/

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s so beautiful that his family continues to celebrate him after all this time. Parker was perfect too. It was a solemn moment and he knew that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I think so too Kate – I think Brian’s memory lives on with this memorial tree, more so than just stopping at the cemetery. I think Parker was perfect too – it was very uncharacteristic of him to be so quiet. A friend of mine who subscribes to my blog mentioned to me that maybe Parker has seen the family convene at the tree before and associated that with me, and likely they were quiet and solemn reflecting on Brian and he witnessed that. People don’t give animals the credit they deserve sometimes. They are a little deeper than we tend to think at first blush.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. John says:

    A nice little story. I like to honor good people, but at the same time I get sad when I am reminded that the person is dead, when you know them, or know that it is a kindhearted person. I would not want anyone set up memory placards, pictures or other about a person in a place like a park or other public place where people usually walk. I find it hard to feel joy after being reminded of it, and I want to be happy when I walk in the parks and in the countryside. It is especially about those who died at a young age. To erect a memorial to the people who have done very well in their lifetime is a completely different matter. Love your photos on the cute squirrels and are a little jealous of you who have them so close to you, almost like your “wild pets”😃

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks John – there is only one other tree in the Park that is decorated like this and only in Spring does it have live flowers growing there and when the tree blossoms, they hang angels on the tree … that is it for the year. So this one stands out. Parker is like having a pet sometimes – that same loyalty that you have with a dog. I remember you telling me you had a dog. I’ve had dogs when I was young who weren’t that great of companions – one ran away, and he was a poodle.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Laurie says:

    I wonder if Parker picked up on your pensive mood. Animals have more intuition than we give them credit for. I know Benji (our dog) does! Maybe Parker was wondering what you were thinking about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I think you are right Laurie – and usually I am talking to him the entire time, and I kept looking over and there he was either quietly munching or looking at me. I do think he was in tune with the moment.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Miss Peace-maker……………………………I’m awed at Mr. Parker’s peaceful attitude when he’s near you…………………………It makes me feel at peace too

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      It was such a peaceful scene Ann Marie – so quiet at the Park that first day of 2019! No walk this morning … freezing fog and black ice … later today should be beautiful and better.

      Like

  7. Parker was a good boy today! He’s looking nice & chubby!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. lindasschaub says:

    Yes. he sure was Wayne. Very quiet and content to sit nearby and munch on peanuts or study me, while basking in the solitude of the Park that morning. It is quite unlike him as he is usually rambunctious. Yesterday or Thursday I was across the street from the Park entrance way (at the parking lot), just arriving when he spied me and came running across busy River Drive to see me … I winced even though there were no cars, and I herded him back, trying to scold him about not running across the street. Squirrels … what are you going to do with them? He sure is chubby … all those peanuts and treats are going right to Parker’s hips!

    Like

  9. What a nice tribute to Brian!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Shelley says:

    I love your words and photos depicting intrigue today – I can see why you’re smitten with Parker, he’s adorable and appears to relate to you and your adventures in the park. Nice tribute to Brian, hope his family somehow finds your post and sends thanks to you for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks Shelley – there was an aura of peace there and not a soul there at that time which made it kind of special as well. Parker is a cutie isn’t he? I hope the family somehow finds the post as well – my blog does appear in the local newspaper’s blog roll and I also blog at a hyperlocal newspaper, so it would be nice if they or an acquaintance discovered it.

      Like

  11. Mackenzie says:

    while reading this post I realized how much I appreciate how you take time to notice the simple things, Linda. It’s inspiring. I want to be more in tune with my surroundings, appreciate the present- here and now. Thank you for sharing & motivating me !

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks for saying that Mackenzie … it was so quiet and peaceful that morning and I really prefer just taking it all in while walking – occasionally I will walk and chat with one of the other walkers, but most of the time, I am just taking in the sights, savoring the tranquility.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This was such a beautiful post. I love the idea of Parker being so faithful to his favourite human and staying with you to observe the memorial tree.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I was so touched Zena – and someone said that perhaps he had witnessed the family gathered around the memorial tree (as one walker said had seen one time) and saw them quietness of the attendees and understood this was something out of the ordinary, a kind of “quiet time”. He was not his normal self. Yes, he came bounding over to see me and to get peanuts, yet he remained there like a faithful dog. I thought you and Munch today as I read a fellow blogger’s post about her nephew – he is a teenager and he had a seizure and he was in his room with the family dog and the dog jumped on him to try to get him to “wake up” and barked furiously to get another family member’s attention. I remember your knee episode and how in tune Munch was with what was happening with you.

      Like

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