… so that means we get to act a little silly or frivolous and we’re definitely lighter in heart (and on our feet as we hopefully need not trudge forth with snow boots until November … that’s a big draw for me anyway).
Yup, Spring is in the air … I just felt it this past week. And, it arrived officially just a few moments ago, at 5:58 p.m.! The fact that we might have a dusting of snow Friday morning, well … I guess I’ll just get over it. I really don’t care if it is cold and blustery because I’ll just dress for it, but snow and ice – it just gums up the works.
With Spring comes new life and hope.
The angle of the sun is different on my morning strolls and my distorted-looking shadows often give me a grin. Something tells me that very soon, when walking to and from the Park, I need to be looking up, not just straight ahead, (or down at the uneven pavement to avoid a trip-and-fall). I must be mindful of Mama Robins building nests in homeowners’ eaves troughs …
… or low-hanging branches at Council Point Park.
During the Spring of 2018, I enjoyed watching and documenting the miracle of life, from those beautiful blue eggs, to scrawny hatchlings and then watching those birdies fledge. I felt a little like I should be the proud Mama sometimes. I shared those photos and escapades on this blog and you delighted in them as well.
There was a touch of sadness after those fledglings left and I saw the empty nests. Then, one morning, you may recall, it was pure serendipity that I looked down on the sidewalk and discovered a baby Robin who had likely fallen out of the nest. He was fast asleep, his downy head tucked under one wing, but, soon he felt the presence of this tall human being gazing at him and he looked up at me.
Well my heart just melted. Long after I said goodbye to him, I fretted and stewed over his well-being since I saw no nests in any nearby trees that he might have tumbled from. Where was his Mama?! He desperately needed her to come along and gently nudge him to a safe haven until he was ready to begin flying lessons and take off on his own.
Soon the Canada Geese will build nests, lay eggs and in late April or early May, the sweet balls of fluff will emerge.
All too soon they will begin toddling around after their parents, and will develop an attitude, as those offspring will get as cantankerous as their folks, with all the histrionics of hissing and flapping their wings. It’s all good – you just take yourself off the perimeter path and give THEM the right of way.
Ahh Spring – as you unfold, you will continue to delight me.
My furry pals at the Park are similarly delighting in the slightly warmer temps and bright sunshine. This morning I watched a pair scampering after one another, enjoying a simple game of tag, not in the least mindful of me jiggling the bag of peanuts – even Parker hesitated just a tad before joining me on the path. Hmm – could it be a girl squirrel that my favorite furry friend fancies more than a handful of peanuts and me sweet talkin’ him? Parker, I’m crushed!
[Well that’s more like it!]
The squirrels may be full of energy but Council Point Park will continue to wear its Winter weary look because, despite the calendar date that says it is Spring, that drab and dreary existence lingers.
I broke off a couple of twigs – dry as a bone with no sap or supple bend to them, and nary a leaf on the trees yet. The grass is straw colored, but the geese don’t mind what color it is, or, even if it is flavorful – they graze anyway.
Jeremiah WAS a bullfrog??
Most of the blog posts I churn out are about the squirrels, waterfowl and those often cheeky birds that I see on my daily walks. On occasion, I even write about the underwater critters that live beneath the murky surface – some are seen, others just heard.
Last week I heard a story on the news. It didn’t get a lot of airplay as this nature news item was sandwiched in between the New Zealand tragedy and the four tornadoes that raced through mid-Michigan Thursday evening. I was sad to hear about the massive fish kill in our state’s creeks and smaller lakes. The Polar Vortex, and sustained, brutally cold temps throughout March, not only made us humans hunker down indoors more, but it spelled doom for the aquatic life that exists beneath the icy surface of the Ecorse Creek. I’ve been showing you photos of that icy Creek for the past month. The cold created a domino effect. Unfortunately, the brutal temps killed off the aquatic plants that the waterfowl nibble on, and when those plants died off, there was no oxygen beneath the surface of the water. The fish could not survive. As a result, last week the Creek thawed out and lots of dead shad rose to the surface. They piled up on the Creek banks, then the heavy rains and significant wind last Thursday pushed some into the water.
Unfortunately, I must don my rose-colored glasses to avoid seeing the ugliness Mother Nature created in my go-to nature nook. The lack of oxygen will also doom the crayfish, turtles and frogs. In Winter, the frogs hibernate underwater, tucking themselves away in a corner of a pond, not necessarily in the mud, as their metabolism slows down and they get their oxygen from the plant life in the water. But now the plant life is no longer there.
Though I’ve never been lucky enough to see Jeremiah*, the bullfrog that greets me every morning with his loud belches, I hope my little amphibian friend will continue his a.m. serenade and I am not forced to speak about him in the past tense.
So happy together??
Similarly, all the turtles go into a state of hibernation by burying themselves deep in the dirt at the Creek bottom. The turtles, unlike that big bullfrog, are silent on my morning jaunts, but there is something special about watching those painted turtles sunning themselves on a log on a warm Summer morning.
Last year I watched a snapping turtle dig a hole, deposit eggs, then cover it up. You and I waited 90 days to see if those turtle hatchlings would march across the perimeter path, or not, and we surmised they made their grand escape in the cover of night, after an empty hole near the nest was discovered.
The days will get longer, the path will be sweeter as the Park comes alive and goes full throttle again. The ground will finally defrost and the squirrels can dig up their nutty treasures they began burying last August when we had some chilly days, a precursor to the colder-than-usual Fall and at times, brutally cold Winter. Will my furry pals pretend they don’t know about their respective caches they have hidden throughout the Park and continue to beg mercilessly at my feet, or even straining to reach the mesh bag of peanuts that swings so merrily on my fanny pack and taunts them? Perhaps I will turn around and find them lingering at my heels, or following me around the Park like I am the Pied Piper of Hamlin? Only time will tell and my grocery store is helping out the cause – once a month they send out coupons for the items that their shoppers buy the most. The item you purchase the most is always free. Well, those algorithms are pretty smart as I got a coupon for free peanuts this month … good thing as I was considering putting all the furry pals as dependents on my income tax pretty soon!
I tried really hard to get to 142 miles walked thus far in 2019 by the first day of Spring. I am happy to say I made that goal this morning – it was a mini personal goal I set, so now I only have 1,100 more miles to reach my final goal of 1,242 miles (2,000 kilometers) by year end. That’s a lot of walking, so I’ll need Mother Nature to cooperate with me.
I’ll close out this post by sharing a video that I click on from time to time; it helps get me through those harsh, never-ending Winter days when I have my doubts that Spring will indeed grace us with its presence again.
Please take a few minutes and enjoy this beautiful video: Just click here:
*Yup, I’ve probably dated myself with the Jeremiah the Bullfrog reference … so, for the younger set, Google “Joy to the World by Three Dog Night” … 🙂