Transitions …

Here we are on the cusp of Fall – I don’t know about you, but in my opinion it sure is welcome.

Autumn has always been my favorite season anyway, even if it leads up to Winter, my least-favorite season. I love the chill in the air, sweatshirts and long pants and the sound of crisp leaves crunching beneath my shoes. But unfortunately these seasons often clash here in Southeast Michigan, bringing us snow and ice long before the calendar’s official date of Winter.

It was not just a warm and toasty Summer, but hot and steamy was the more accurate description as the Metro region was the ninth hottest on record since 1874, with 15 days over 90 F/32 C. My weather radio was shrieking incessantly. I kept track of the severe storm forecasts – 19 as of last week. I’m sure I have a few new wrinkles and gray hairs from the worrisome and volatile weather. It was also the seventh rainiest Summer on record for us as we are near 20 inches/50 cms. But the past few days, there was a definite nip in the air that caused me to don long sleeves and pants.

The seasons have been clashing here a lot the last few weeks.

At first, the changes were subtle and began around mid-August with the different angle of the sun as I headed east toward Council Point Park. The glare of the sun instantly darkened my glasses and, at times, made it almost impossible to see. This sun’s angle suddenly spotlighted the iridescent trails where slugs had inched across City sidewalks while I was fast asleep. Also hard at work in the overnight hours were spiders spinning massive webs, seemingly in thin air, hooking them from a house to a tree or bush that I passed by. Those webs are nearly invisible … that is, until a web cloaks you in sticky filaments … ugh! As a person who both fears and loathes spiders, I know I must look funny frantically clawing the air to rid myself of the web.

Meanwhile, at Council Point Park the leaves have been drifting down to the path and bright yellow Poplar leaves litter the surface of the Creek making the water look polka-dotted. Sloppy V-formations of geese honk noisily overhead as they confer among themselves whether to grab a bite of grass at the Park or continue on to a bigger and maybe better grazing venue.

Amazingly, the first hints of color showed up as early as August 4th this Summer. I took a photo of my watch so I wouldn’t forget the date.

Sometimes rose-colored glasses are in order at this venue.

This Park has been my happy place since I discovered it in 2013.

Just because I’ve not written about my encounters with my furry and feathered friends lately does not mean I’ve abandoned this venue – not at all; I just didn’t take many photos there this Summer. At times my favorite nature nook has been downright cringe-worthy, especially as I recall Summers in the past with neatly trimmed paths and complete shoreline access to the water. Then I took funny photos of Parker or the other squirrels, Harry the Heron fishing or occasional encounters with the ducks and geese.

But the Park, as well as the grass-mowing crew, just like so many other recreational venues, businesses and the like, evidently lacks enough employees to have a substantial workforce to enable the Park to stay as pristine as in the past. Thus, there have been three organized volunteer cleanups this Summer. But I guess that is just for trash?

The Park used to be mowed weekly, yet this year, even in the peak growing season, it was only mowed every three or four weeks. Using the weed whipper for edging and trimming has not been done at all this year. You can see the difference where I fed the critters from Fall through Spring and after the weeds grew over my ankles, I abandoned walking over to the log and stump area to leave peanuts, sunflower seeds or any other treats for the squirrels and birds for fear of ticks, maybe mice or even snakes. The weeds are way past my knees now.

Before:

After:

Nor have I crept close to the banks of the Ecorse Creek to capture images of turtles lined up on a log on sunny mornings due to the high grass and weeds along the shoreline. Sit down for a spell … well maybe not; besides the view is not so great.

The graffiti has languished on cement walls and garbage cans all Summer as well.

The squirrels and birds are not always showing up for peanuts either.

I’ve already mentioned the presence of hawks at Council Point Park. In the past, it might have been an occasional hawk just passing through, but now there are a pair of juvenile Red-Tailed Hawks routinely streaking through the skies on a daily basis. They work together: one chases the squirrel and when it scurries toward the nearest tree, the other hawk tries to grab it. Thankfully, I’ve only heard about this and not witnessed it, but the squirrels seem very wary of the presence of these hawks and often, as I walk along the path, I hear the squirrel warning cries coming from the tall trees.

As I write this post on Saturday afternoon, I must tell you that this morning, at my usual time, I walked the entire perimeter path without seeing one squirrel. That is odd indeed. This time of year they are gathering nuts to squirrel away and usually are starting to get chubby in advance of the colder weather. I always leave a stash of peanuts in what I’ve deemed the three safest spots in the Park: the Weeping Mulberry Tree (a/k/a “The Safe Haven Tree”), as well as in the grass as close as I will get to the fallen log/stump area mentioned above and I’ve also been leaving peanuts on the picnic table under the pavilion roof, all safe spots away from hawks (hopefully), though my little buddies often run away from the safe spots to bury a peanut, thus exposing themselves to the hawks. I saw another hawk this morning, watching and waiting from his perch in a dead tree. I didn’t take pictures as I got those close-ups a few weeks ago. We stared at one another until he eventually flew away. Perhaps the squirrels saw that hawk too as none ventured out to the path. It makes me sad as the squirrels, as well as the Jays, Cardinals and even the Red-Bellied Woodpeckers scamming peanuts from those squirrels, are always a welcome part of my morning Park experience.

It’s not all doom and gloom … there were a few things that made me smile.

Because we had so much rain, there were no Robins hunkering down near homeowners’ sprinklers to freshen their feathers or hopping through the grass blades on moist lawns while on worm-finding expeditions – that was my loss as they are rather comical to watch, but on the flip side, there were birds bathing, just splashing away in puddles in the street or in potholes. A Goldfinch sang its cheery song for me as well almost every morning.

Though dogs are not allowed in the Park, people bring them anyway, usually on a leash, but this young woman carried her dog named “Lola” in a bag every day, even during those wicked “Dog Days of Summer” – yes those days were aptly named!

I hope to reach 1,000 miles/1,609 kilometers walked by the first day of Fall. I had to really step up my game as the sun has been getting up later and later, essentially shaving steps off my daily total. That will leave me just 256 miles/411 kilometers to get ‘er done by year end. Whew! Wish me luck! Forward, then onward and upward!

About Linda Schaub

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, so 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 four 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, though 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. - Linda Schaub
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51 Responses to Transitions …

  1. Sarah Davis says:

    I notice some change leaves this weekend as well, a good 3 weeks early. Changes are all around, but so few seem to notice or care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Sarah – I saw some red leaves on my ornamental maple tree back in July already! We did have moderate drought in April and May and the first half of June here in SE Michigan, then the rains began. We are going to have 2-4 inches of rain over the next 48 hours. That rain is good for the trees which they said would lose their leaves early this year as they’re stressed out from the early drought and the relentless heat.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good luck on reaching your mileage goal. You’ll make it!

    I’m sorry the weather has been so difficult for you this year. You had many hurdles. I hope the fall and winter will be much better.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Anne – I feel more confident as I reach the 1,000-mile mark (hopefully tomorrow). We then have two solid days of rain beginning Tuesday afternoon. It would be nice if they are wrong. The weather was not enjoyable this season, save for maybe a dozen days, since Memorial Day. Yesterday was a gorgeous day.

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  3. Yup, I’m welcoming fall with open arms, too! I hope yours will stay a while and keep winter at bay. Your summer was one for the record books. We’re seeing a few leaves start to change here, too. I’m so sorry your beloved park is having so much trouble with maintenance, that must be so discouraging. Especially with these rough times we are living through. That park bench with no view is so depressing. I hope things will get back to the way they were before after the pandemic wanes. Our beach got trashed when they closed the bars and everybody went down there to socialize. There are things down there that still need attention, even though the bars have opened back up. May your squirrels return when its safe! What a sweet blessing to hear the goldfinch singing. A hopeful sign. Best of luck on reaching your walking goal!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Barbara, I love Fall, but we usually get slammed with at least one snowfall in November … the snow doesn’t last long, but creates a big mess. This Park has not looked the same since it closed down the month of May 2020 for the pandemic and that does make me sad just like you see at your beach. The squirrel situation was better yesterday and today – they were out and about, so that makes me think, there was a hawk present and maybe grabbed one of my furry friends Saturday morning. It was just too quiet there. That goldfinch is beautiful. I don’t take my camera out for it as it is usually in a tree and I I don’t get a clear shot. But what a voice! If I walk tomorrow (barring any rain and we have 2-4 inches of rain over the next 48-72 hours), I will reach 1,000 miles and that was a mini goal I set for myself.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Happy to hear the squirrels were out and about again. May they exercise great caution with regard to the hawk danger!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, I think they know hawks are on patrol Barbara. Even though they still grab a peanut and take off to bury it, the squirrels seem more reluctant to leave their trees initially to get that peanut, so I think they are wary (which I’m glad for as I hope I never see a hawk go after them).

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Fall is my favorite season as well Linda! Your walking schedule seems pretty good! Now all you need is for bad weather to hold off! You must go through a pair of runners each season?
    That one squirrel looks chubby!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Other than some lower (but not cool) temps, no sign of fall here yet. Pumpkins are starting to appear on porches though. My porch has sun all afternoon so it’s way too early to even attempt that unless I want baked pumpkin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      We’re going to be 20 degrees cooler starting Wednesday, the first day of Fall, then hot again by the weekend. I’ve seen lots of harvest decor in the neighborhood and I agree with you on the pumpkins. Those pumpkins and squash displays will be spoiled before Columbus Day.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Rebecca says:

    I enjoy seeing the squirrels peek around the side of the tree as in your photo. I saw one do that tonight when we walked by. They are smart and curious animals. I hope you make your walking goal. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I enjoy that too Rebecca and I was happy to see more of my furry friends back yesterday and today. They make me smile when the younger or smaller squirrels scurry up a tree, but peek around or down to see if 1) I’ve left peanuts; or 2) I’ve left the tree. 🙂 We have a lot of rain from Tuesday afternoon to Thursday but if I can get out this morning, I’ll reach 1,000 and I’m happy about that. I hope we don’t go from hot weather to cold, then ice and snow, which sometimes happens here in Michigan.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So cute Squirrel 👌🌷beautiful photography 🙏😊

    Liked by 1 person

  8. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss “Onward and Upward”………………………………I wish you luck completing your walking goal

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Ann Marie – I did make my 1,000-mile goal this morning … good thing as we are getting torrential rain the next few days which will put a damper (pardon the pun) on both of our walking regimens.

      Like

  9. My dog is named, Lola, but i do not carry her in a bag. She is 11 years old — a miniature Chiweenie — and still runs around and plays like a puppy. Fall means far less mosquitoes… but now: fruit flies! 🙂
    Great pics, Linda! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I had to Google “Chiweenie” – very cute Tom and cute name as well. Yes, thankfully less mosquitoes, especially after I came home with lots of bites on my face and arms after walking briefly through a wooded area that was not even dense last weekend. However, we have these torrential rains right now and the next two days that will spell doom for mosquitoes for a few days. Glad you liked the photos Tom and glad to see you back here. It is fitting that you returned today as it is “International Day of Peace”. 🙂

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  10. Nancy Ruegg says:

    i admire your discipline to keep walking in your park, Linda, even when it’s not as inviting as it used to be. I’m another one who loves Fall; it’s such a delight when the sun drops far enough south that temps start to drop. No doubt I’ve mentioned we lived in Florida for 40 years, 23 of them in South Florida. We experienced enough summer to last more than a lifetime! The Farmer’s Almanac has predicted a cold and snowy winter, which I won’t mind a bit–as long as I don’t have to drive anywhere! : ) Already anticipating with delight the warm, fuzzy clothing, a fire in the fireplace, candles glowing, hot soup simmering on the stove . . . Much to be said for winter!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Fall has always been my favorite season for the same reasons as yours Nancy – the crisp days, colors, the clothing and I’m fine with Winter cold as I took the bus for years when I worked on site, so have a lot of warm clothing that I got over the years … but I don’t like ice and snow. I took the bus for decades and caught it at the end of my street, so no need to take car out, so I really never honed my Winter driving skills. Working from home now, I still don’t have to hone those skills. The picture you paint for Winter is delightful – heat and humidity is for the birds and it’s been so worrisome with all the storms. I spent a little time in Florida, probably 10 days at the most visiting friends of the family and I remember we had several volatile storms. The friends said “oh yes, we have a storm every afternoon, at the heat of the day.” I’d be a nervous wreck. You’ve adjusted though and that’s a while for living there.

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  11. How sad about the maintenance at the park but just like every place else there is nobody that seems to want a job. You are doing a great job with your miles and you got this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, it is like the post you wrote about the restaurant, Red Lobster I believe. Does Terry mention the grocery store often not having items? Not just paper products, but other items, not stocked or just waiting for a delivery to come in. Thank you- I did make 1,000 miles yesterday morning before today/tomorrow’s deluge of rain. Luckily Council Point Park’s walking path is above the Creek so it could never rise that far.

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  12. Prior... says:

    Love the ending with your sneakers –
    and the hawks really fo have a threat vibe.- when our puppies were very small – I was always careful in the yard with them because we used to have a large area near by and could see the hawks swirling – never too close – but did not want to give them a reason to come our way

    and dog days of summer over here too – whew – and Lola is a cute pup

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Whew for the dog days of summer leaving … they say we’ll get to 80 in the next day or so, but low humidity, so tolerable after what we endured. I hate seeing the hawk at the Park Yvette. He glides over the Park or sits in a tall tree. He thinks no one sees him. I hope my furry friends stay safe as a hawk can pick them up in a heartbeat unfortunately. You were wise to stay with your pups. We have instances of small animals getting picked up by Cooper’s Hawks and Peregrine Falcons. Glad you liked the sneakers at the end – they get over 1,000 miles on them and are still without getting run down or any holes in them!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Joni says:

    That’s sad that they haven’t kept the park maintenance up……also sad about the hawks. I hope Parker is okay? With so much overgrowth are there lots of mosquitoes?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, I hate that they are letting the Park look so shabby. I am hoping all the weeds over by the fallen log and tree stump die as I don’t even walk through there anymore as it’s too dense. I saw Parker earlier this Summer – just one time. He came over right away and started dancing around for Peanuts and I grabbed the camera from the pouch and took some photos. The one shot is similar to what I used before, but I got a couple of him checking out my shoe top with his nose. Very cute! No mosquitoes here – good news. And no ticks either. Plus no flooding because the Creek is high above the ground. I went grocery shopping this morning, then walked at the Park. No squirrels at all so I left peanuts in the usual places. I hope the real Fall wether is here to stay!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Weather has been erratic for all of us this year! Your area got so much rain this summer and we out west have had none. Drought continues with lawns getting crispy yellow and wildfire danger. Our drive to the emergency room led us through the Stanford campus and I couldn’t believe how the beautiful lush lawns had turned all yellow and dry. It didn’t seem like the same campus. We need rain!!!I hope your weather this autumn isn’t too crazy…it is stressful to deal with volatile weather.
    Poor squirrels. It’s a gratifying experience for you to treat your squirrels to some goodies. Those hawks are on the keen lookout for a meal. I hope the squirrels stay safe and the hawks find a new location.
    I don’t understand graffiti in public spaces. Why. It’s unnecessary and it gives off a bad vibe. If you remember the recent post about us walking up the park stairs, we found graffiti on rocks and wood fence. Ellis was looking at your post’s pictures with me and she thought graffiti was the name of the drawn figure in your picture. lol
    Happy autumn and can’t wait to see your fall pictures. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I worry about those little squirrels and have allowed myself to get too attached to them Esther. It was bad enough with the squirrel getting hit by a car out front, but I hope I never see a hawk grab one of the squirrels. I saw one swoop down but the squirrel ran away quickly. That squirrel had half of his tail missing and what tail he had, the fur was white, like somone who goes through trauma. “Stubby” was a fixture at the Park – I’ve not seen him in two seasons – makes you wonder what happened to him. There is graffiti everywhere, even on tree branches. Happy autumn back at you Esther!

      Like

  15. So glad to “see” you again and to see you are still walking and feeding the squirrels. I’m sorry your beloved park is so unkempt. It’s sad to watch as our world slowly gets more and more unkempt, as more people don’t work or are sick and unable to keep up. This makes me pray more and seek out those more colorful moments of life. Thank you for sharing yours.
    Hoping and praying for you to accomplish your steps again this year! 😊I am so looking forward to fall! It is my favorite time of year as well. Unfortunately, here in NGA, it seems the weatherman always likes to tease us. We had a real cool week last week, and the excitement right before Oct. 1 settles in that “Fall is on its way!” Then, this week, the temps climb back up above 80 degrees. It happens every year, without fail, and you’d think we’d be used to it by now. Although, I do always recognize it, I can’t say the disappointment isn’t there with the recognition… I could live in fall and winter all year! 🍁 🍂 Happy walking to you!

    Liked by 1 person

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