I mentioned in my recent post “The Faces of Winter” that after what seemed like an eternity, I returned to Council Point Park five days after our first major snowstorm of the new year and decade.
I am attaching Saturday’s post here, because there were some issues with Reader and that post failed to show up in some people’s feeds, including mine. If you missed it, you can click here.
Last Wednesday, with much trepidation, I laced up my hiking boots, hoping the City had plowed the asphalt perimeter path before the freezing rain arrived and put down an icy glaze. Late Saturday morning, there had been a small window of opportunity when plain rain, and a 35-degree (+1 C) temperature, erased all traces of snow on the concrete. I was happy to see the Department of Public Services had seized this opportunity just like me.
It was bitter cold with a stiff breeze, making for a brrrrrrisk walk. Suddenly, I realized in my haste to get outside, I forgot my gloves with the flip-up fingers to use with the camera. My regular gloves were way too bulky, so I slipped them off. I had instant frozen fingers, so I had to move quickly and get my photos done to let my red fingers warm up before the cuteness overload that would soon join me for peanuts on the perimeter path.
I paused to take a shot of the fork in the two paths. I usually take the right fork each time when setting out on the walking path. The first year I walked at this Park I took a picture at the beginning of the trail, at this exact fork, for each season, then made one collage picture of the four seasons. I intend to do that again in 2020 (assuming we can tell the seasons apart, since our weather has been so wacky of late).
I saw yellow snow in several places, so I knew someone else had been to the Park (yes, a pooch, not a walker, as there were paw prints in the snow). I met one of the other walkers who, like me, was equally pleased to see how clear the pathways were and told me he had already fallen once, after he slid and wiped out on some glare ice hidden beneath a dusting of snow. Yikes! Perhaps I was feeling overconfident with those boots’ thick treads and the seemingly clear path. I promised myself to be wary of any tricky ice patches going forward.
The landscape was pretty blah with snow everywhere.
Two squirrels appeared in different parts of the donut area inside the loop and vast expanse of the snowy park.
This little guy looked like a tiny black dot in a sea of white.
That black squirrel climbed up onto a low branch and looked equally small in the big tree.
The Ecorse Creek was frozen over, covered by a dusting of snow in spots, and just plain ice in others.
Across the snowy donut area of the walking loop, I saw Harry the Heron in fishing posture on the cement landing. I wondered how he thought he’d catch a fish, but perhaps there was a hole in the ice? I hoped he’d stay put until I made it over to that side, likely awhile, once I was waylaid by the squirrels.
I hadn’t traveled too far on the pathway when the first squirrel (one of those two tiny dots pictured above) came leaping over the snow piles, skidding to a stop by my feet, then the other one scampered over. I dropped some peanuts and the pair scurried away to enjoy them.
Squirrel radar was definitely in place, because within a few minutes, at least six more squirrels had wandered by and settled in to munch on the peanuts I had placed nearby. In my mind, I imagine the squirrels letting out a squeal of delight from their cozy nests. Do they utter an Alvin the Chipmunk-type noise that translates to “yay, Linda is here” as opposed to “the nutty lady has arrived” … I’ll never know since I don’t speak “squirrel”.
This photo shows the Gang of Eight.
Soon a dozen squirrels surrounded me. I figured they might not have left their nests since the past Friday, given the smorgasbord of wet weather, then the brutal Arctic-like chill that cloaked most of Southeast Michigan.
I took a ton of pictures that morning – here are a few of my favorites of my furry friends below.
You see this black squirrel (maybe the one formerly known as Midnight) enjoyed some peanuts, then, because old habits never die, he took off to bury one in the snow.
This is Stubby, easily identifiable by that shortened, white-tipped tail.
Stubby is at a disadvantage when the Winter winds blow – compare how this squirrel’s long and furry tail partially shields him from the elements, in contrast to Stubby’s tail.
And let’s not forget Parker, who stationed himself in the only grassy area with no snow, which is pretty smart when you are not wearing boots.
Well, I tore myself away from this idyllic scene to finish up my walk. I intended to walk at least three miles, the equivalent of three times on Loop #1.
Harry wasn’t harried at all!
Through the bare bushes, I was happy to see Harry was still hanging around, his skinny body poised at the edge of the Ecorse Creek banks. My picture is a bit blurry as I had to peer through the bushes, but shows how he paused and I imagined a thought bubble over his head said “should I stay or should I go?”
He looked both ways and decided to go for it. Atta boy Harry!
Maybe the rumbling in Harry’s stomach won over any anxiety about traversing this narrow, ice-covered passage, because off he went, plodding confidently with his big feet.
He strode across the frozen surface, pausing to peck at something sticking out of the ice.
Then he continued on, looking around occasionally, while striking a nice pose against the snowy background and creating a pale reflection on the icy surface.
At the end of my trek it appeared a pale sun was peeking through the clouds and I was surprised to see my faint shadow as I finished up my third time around Loop #1.
As I headed to the car after an enjoyable trek, with pink cheeks and still red and frozen fingers, and, what I hoped would be a treasure trove of photos in the camera, my own stomach began rumbling since my oatmeal was long gone in the toes of my hiking boots.
As I drove home, I decided that perhaps snow and Winter MAY have a few redeeming qualities after all and I should re-think my aversion to this season.