Oh, those gray days and Winter doldrums have set in for most of us. The multiple holiday festivities are in the rear view mirror and the harsh reality is that it’s only January, and at least three long months of Winter stretch before us.
“Metro Detroit weather whiplash: Brace for big drop in temperature!”
That headline leapt out at me when I saw it earlier this week … really Mother Nature? Why now, after you’ve been teasing us with Spring-like weather for weeks? Who stepped on your toes?
I was enjoying our uncharacteristically beautiful December and early January weather … it made up for an ugly November, where we endured cold temps, some freezing rain and ice, and intermittent slick and snowy mornings. That followed a colder-than-usual and rainy October, which has always been my favorite month – not in 2018 though.
Just when I decided Mother Nature had redeemed herself somewhat, so I was prepared to give her an “Atta Girl” … well, let’s just say we plunged back into Winter bigtime. All that is missing is the next snow event, which the meteorologists dangle like a carrot in front of us. The snow haters are grateful for the ease of getting around without snow-slickened streets and the snow lovers have been spending their weekends further north where they can indulge in all the skiing and snowmobiling they want.
But all good things must come to an end …
… including the nice weather. It’s been a dreary week, which started Monday morning when I stayed inside based on the weather predictions. I was clueless that no freezing rain materialized outside my house, or on the street, until I went to the front door to feed Grady and his former nemesis, who show up like clockwork for peanuts.
These furry fellows fared better than me, because they still got their treat, but it was too late to recoup my loss and head out to walk, and still be back for work timely.
Grady has been hanging around for almost two months now, and, as you know, the bigger Fox squirrel started bullying him a few weeks ago. He stole his peanuts right from under his nose, even chasing Grady up my neighbor’s tree, where he sat quivering and looking at me like “help …do something Linda!” I felt sorry for little Grady, having been the victim of bullying myself, many decades ago after we moved here from Canada. So, I raised my voice and told the other squirrel to go away … “raised my voice” is being polite, because I yelled at him, and he scurried off.
I’d like to think these two have reconciled their differences, since they now show up together, and there are an equal number of peanuts for both of them, so they “play nice” all the time. I’ll get a shot of them together when it gets warmer. The screen door was all fogged up from the cold the last two mornings.
Sigh … if I ruled the world, everyone would get along.
Kids will be kids … furry or otherwise.
It reminds me of my parents, who were angry that I let my best friend, Linda Crosby, take my toys and tricycle, and she beat me up first to get them. My parents were so exasperated with me that they said the next time she hit me first, I was to beat her up and I’d be rewarded one dime for my efforts.
So I did just that.
I also went running across the lawn and into the house, hollering at the top of my lungs “Mommy, Daddy – I beat up Linda Crosby, can I have my dime?”
My parents were likely horrified, (not only because I said “can I” instead of “may I”), but it looked like they were encouraging violence in their young daughter.
The things you’ll do for one thin dime, but I guess I tucked it away with my tooth fairy money, and Linda Crosby and I remained friends, even after this little dust-up.
Well, I digressed …
Tuesday Mother Nature offered up 50-degree temps in the morning and it rained at dawn. If you were lucky enough to be out and about, you hardly needed a coat, nor gloves, and I stayed in the ‘hood since rain still threatened, and it was likewise on Wednesday. It’s easier to be a fleet foot and get home dry when you are just around the corner from home.
Thursday morning was devoted to errands – not fun, but my boss was out at a meeting, so better to get it done before the snow flies, or you need to fight the weekend crowds. I actually racked up two miles dashing around. I know this because my pedometer is a permanent fixture when I dress to go outside.
It’s been a long five days – the first full week of work for most of us. For me, the first full work week in almost a month, and it was a toughie – you know, all the stuff that got shoved aside to do after the holidays.
A get-out-of-jail-free card for me.
But finally, there was a ray of hope … (besides the fact that it’s Friday).
Yesterday’s blustery winds that whipped around while I was in and out of the car all morning, had mercifully disappeared, and, in its place were calmer winds. The fact that it was 17 degrees, well … I just bundled up before stepping out.
Best of all, the sun was back! Instead of the gray and gloomy skies above, a hint of blue and a ray or two of sun poked out from those clouds when I headed out. I even detected a spring in my step as I hustled down to Council Point Park for the first time since Sunday afternoon.
I saw the gang and tendered peanuts and made my apologies. I didn’t tell my furry friends that I’d been doling out peanuts to my “porch squirrels” lest I make them jealous. Thank goodness, the squirrels are not like your dog, who is suspicious and gets an attitude when you are out petting other dogs and come home with their scent on your hands, or worse yet … on your pants, where the “other dog” might have brushed up against your legs. You know your pet finds that highly unacceptable, but the squirrels … well, they love you for yourself and your peanuts too, of course.
Oh yes, I saw a handful of walkers already on the trail, those brave souls who, like me, just scorn the cold and show up until the paths are too icy and dicey to tread safely. It seems the regular walkers have dwindled, as most have returned to their treadmills or they’re getting their steps in at Southland Mall, followed by a steaming hot Starbucks brew, paired with a decadent Cheese Danish or Cranberry Bliss® Bar, treats (which coincidentally just cancelled out the calories lost by all those steps around the dimly-lit mall).
I did a quick trip around the perimeter path – what a difference a few rays of sun made. I saw the drakes’ iridescent teal heads.
A hint of sun illuminated the dead tree branches and even the berries on the dead bushes looked brighter.
My shadow, not worth recording for posterity, (or at least for this post), was there, albeit a bit pale. That’s okay, the nature aspect of the trail was all good.
I laughed out loud at a squirrel waiting politely for the geese to cross the path – if he swerved too far to his left, he’d be near the geese lined up to get to the Creek. To his right, a gaggle of geese simply glared at him. What’s a squirrel to do?
I know the feeling because I’ve waited patiently at a “geese crossing” myself many times. I’ve been aiming to get four geese lined up across the path so it looks like the Beatles crossing Abbey Road.
One day I’ll get those geese lined up perfectly, have my camera ready and get that shot!
I must get my pictures from last Sunday’s trek to Lake Erie Metropark together. I have a lot to go through and pick out the worthy ones to share in my next blog post.
I’ll leave you with this quote which I saw a while ago and tucked away – I feel it summarizes this post perfectly, don’t you?
[Images from Pinterest (Beatles and Monopoly card) and Greenpeace.org (quote)]