Spring took forever to get going. It was as if Winter begrudged Spring’s arrival – talk about pushback! We had fits and starts, cold and hot, rainy, windy – overall a crummy Spring. I loathe Winter, but a gentle launch into Springtime would have been preferable.
At times, Spring weather was so cold, I did not swap my hat for my bare head, nor shuck my jacket, until late April, for a two-day heat wave, then back to warm clothing again. Such is the ever-changing weather in the Mitten State and beyond as we deal with climate change.
We’ve all heard the phrase “Summertime and the living is easy” and, while it is a little premature, calendar-wise, to call it “Summer” here in Southeast Michigan, now that we’re in June, we continue to deal with the roller coaster ride of erratic weather. Memorial Day was scorching hot and humid, then a cold front with 60 mph winds rolled through and suddenly it was jacket weather.
Mother Nature sure is conflicted sometimes, but aren’t we all?
And, although I said I would NOT complain about the sultry weather, that hot and humid spell had me whining a little anyway. Sure, it’s not only uncomfortable, but brings volatile weather like the recent EF3 tornado with 150 mph winds in Gaylord, Michigan, a small town 250 miles from me. We’re already hearing predictions of three months of hot and sticky conditions which will cause rolling blackouts all Summer.
This writer wishes to return to Summertime like when I was a young’un …. simpler times and simpler weather.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Then May arrived and finally we had an entire week without rain – Mother’s Day weekend looked to be picture-perfect weather. I was ecstatic to get out to enjoy some of the larger shoreline parks, maybe even navigate the Cherry Island Trail at Lake Erie Metropark without sinking into the oozing mud on the rustic portion of that trail.
But, that was not to be. My car was still in the shop for the long-awaited A/C fix for May 7th and 8th and the following equally beautiful weekend as well.
After two long weeks, when I finally had the car again, severe weather, the dregs of the aforementioned Gaylord tornado, left dark brooding clouds, sudden dramatic downpours, whooshing winds and warnings by the weather folks to be mindful of the sky and severe weather conditions all weekend. So I stuck close to home once again. I finally got to multiple large parks over the long holiday weekend and the camera was clicking as I racked up 19 miles walked in three days.
During that long stretch with no wheels, I found myself returning to my roots, er … routes in the ‘hood, those streets I regularly traveled on foot early in my walking regimen before I discovered Council Point Park in 2013 and once I discovered this little nature nook it has become my go-spot ever since.
When Council Point Park closed the month of May 2020 due to rising COVID cases in our City, I was forced to return to the ‘hood, but truth be told, I visited the Park three times weekly to leave peanuts for my furry and feathered friends. During this time, the only vehicle entrance was barricaded and bright-yellow caution tape was strung from trees to poles. However, it was and is, easy to gain access to the Park simply by stepping onto the grounds. I walked along River Drive across from the Park and saw a lone bicyclist on the perimeter path a couple of times, so I figured that yes, I should similarly sneak into the Park to do a short walk and deposit treats for my pals. One time I encountered a pair of firemen removing the caution tape at the pavilion area just as I arrived. “Great!” I exclaimed and without missing a beat I asked “are we allowed to walk here again?” Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a few squirrels had been alerted to my arrival and were approaching the pavilion. “No” he replied, “we’re removing the caution tape as it is flying all over and we’re worried it will blow into the Creek and harm the waterfowl.” “Oh” I said, then politely told them I’d been making a mad dash three times a week to feed the critters and opened my bag to show them and pointed to Parker, et al who were poised politely, ready to grab a peanut. Well I admit I took a chance divulging why I showed up today and admitting to past practice. I explained that the circle of squirrels and birds that were lurking around us would be disappointed if didn’t leave some treats, so sweetly I asked “will it bother you if I make my usual drop?” One fireman smiled and the other put his hands over his eyes and said “I see nothing!”
There’s still a few issues at the Park, though not COVID related.
Ticks and avian flu … these two words have infiltrated my walking regimen.
I am a bleeding heart. I’m also a person who will no longer have pets as the grief over losing them is just too much to bear. I’ve thus “adopted” my Park pals and have become attached to those little critters. So, as I step onto the trail, I say a silent prayer I will finish those laps without seeing a hawk swoop down to snatch one of my furry friends. When I arrive, I scan the trees and trail for signs of Parker, who is sure to scramble down for a meet and greet after seeing
me, the Peanut Lady, the bag of peanuts. I don’t always see him, but I feel better when he be-bops over as precocious as ever. So I tread carefully along the path these days, coming to a standstill and then I may look up, down and around before dumping out any treats to ensure no hawks are lurking about.
During the month of May, with geese and goslings galore, I find myself constantly doing a “poop check” of the ridges in the soles of my heavy walking shoes. But, I have to do a sock and pants check too – this is before I come into the house to ensure no ticks are hanging onto my clothing as we have a tick infestation. Sheesh!
There’s always a ruckus at the three spots at the Park where I make my “drops” of peanuts and seeds to my furry and feathered friends. Those critters are smart (and hungry) because as soon as they see me walking to the pavilion area (my first stop), they come out of the woodwork. The Blue Jays used to at least wait until I got to the next stop at “The Safe Haven Tree” a Weeping Mulberry tree, so named by me as its long and leafy branches tickle the ground and form a fortress of sorts where the squirrels and birds can dine without fear of a hawk swooping down.
The third spot had been a tree stump and fallen log surrounded by brush, perfect to leave treats on that side of the Park, but now it is overgrown with weeds and I’m uneasy about traipsing through there, even in Winter. So I leave a heap of peanuts and sunflower seeds on the path near that spot, sometimes stopping to take a few photos and remind them to “watch your backs and be careful of the hawks!” I know they don’t know what I’m telling them, but it eases my mind that I at least sounded the warning alarm. I hope that scattering sunflower seeds will not encourage the avian flu. I think it’s okay as the critters gather and quickly disperse. This is a typical morning at this third spot:
I took a ton of Spring pictures around Council Point Park – some more of my favorites are below.
On Mother’s Day weekend, three geese families, debuted their goslings and they were different ages. How could I tell? You’d be surprised how quickly goslings grow in just a few days’ time. You’ll see for yourself – next Monday’s post will feature those sweet babies.