In the timeline I currently inhabit, winter storms are scheduled for Wednesdays. Or so it seems. It’s been brrrrrrrr with wash-water gray skies since last Wednesday’s snow, so it didn’t really start melting until today.
This afternoon, the sun is out and it’s a balmy 48 Fahrenheit. Perfect for a jaunt around the neighborhood. I found just enough snow remaining to provide clues about who had preceded me on the journey.
We all leave our mark on the world in one way or another, I suppose, even if it’s temporary.
I woke up with a headache and had to chase it away before doing much today. I had many plans that are as yet undone, but so it goes. I did get mostly rid of noggin nuisance by mid-afternoon, so I got out for a walk, always good medicine.
I witnessed some neighborhood birds convening a meeting. What is all that chatter about? Are they making plans? Exchanging information? Or just gossiping? I wonder.
Even with most of the leaves gone, urban wildlife is able to hide remarkably well. I heard a lot of movement in the brushy area by the side of the road as I walked. I spotted a few squirrels, which all ran off before I could snap any photos.
Then there was a whole group of chickadees. I craved a photo of at least one, but hoped for the entire gathering. They kept flitting behind branches every time I pointed my camera and I got nothing. Amazing how quickly they can vanish from sight. Dare I hope there are more creatures left than we think. Maybe they’re hiding until we’re gone.
The cardinal I saw wasn’t so shy, though. Does he hope his beauty will save him? Or is he just brave? Or clueless about humans? Whatever the case, I thank him for posing.
It certainly was a lovely afternoon for most of a walk around the neighborhood. I remained comfortable, temperature-wise, with jeans and a short-sleeved t-shirt layered over a long-sleeved tee.
Many area residents took advantage of the unseasonably warm and sunny Sunday to catch up on yard work, something I’ll be tending to momentarily, myself. My ambulation would have been idyllic but for the existence of leaf blowers.
I went through one of my favorite parks, across one of my favorite foot bridges, the site of many fond memories for me over the past fifteen years. It is truly one of my happy places. There’s something about the spot, standing on that bridge, I find renewing. It’s a little pocket of peace. Usually.
Why? Why do leaf blowers even exist? I could hear this one running from 2 1/2 blocks away. Even then, I’m not sure if I was out of range of the noise or if the person using it had turned it off. Considering the length of time it was running, I’m not even sure where they were blowing the leaves to. In fact, I always wonder that.
What is even the purpose of making a huge racket, burning a lot of gas, disrupting the insects that play crucial roles in the natural cycle of life, and disturbing everyone’s afternoon, all so you can blow leaves from one place to another? Any readers who use one, I beg you to stop now.
Later in my walk, I encountered a woman who was clearing fallen leaves from the sidewalk in front of her house by using a push broom. The sound was so pleasant, the shoosh, shoosh, shoosh, blending nicely with a little birdsong and a bicycle bell. It was calming for my nerves, as opposed to jangling.
I don’t want to turn this post too political, but I am looking ahead to the major elections coming up a year from now. I’m pretty sure my vote can be won by any candidate who pledges to ban leaf blowers.
No original photos with this post. I was in a slight hurry walking back to work from my dinner break, which is 4:00-5:00 on Mondays. And taking photos just didn’t seem appropriate to the weirdness I encountered.
First, I passed a middle aged couple, man and woman I’m pretty sure, standing on a corner, both of them looking at a piece of paper the woman held, and speaking quietly to each other. The man was carrying two smallish portable file boxes, the kind with handles on top that you might use at home to store letter-sized documents. In addition to the paper they were studying, the woman held a similar file box and…a gas can?
I’ve seen too many crime shows. My first thought was that they were going somewhere to destroy evidence. Burn the files, you know. Evidence of what, I’m not sure. Or maybe they were giving away some items to a neighbor. But that’s a boring explanation.
On down the block and around the corner from that mystery was a dead squirrel in the middle of the street, obvious road kill. I’d seen it on my way home already and successfully wiped it from my mind. It was a little harder to forget on the way back however, due to the man who was just coming out of his house and struck up a conversation with me about it.
He was late middle aged and badly in need of a hair cut or a hair clip or something, as his bangs fell down over his eyes. He walked right up to me, waving his hand to get my attention. His verbal greeting was, “See that squirrel there? It’s dead.”
I tried not to be too obvious as I shifted my gaze around scouting out the best escape routes should I need to run. I just nodded at him. “Yeah, that’s too bad.”
“Someone killed it. I don’t know why.”
“Looks like it just got hit by a car,” I told him.
He shook his head. “No. Someone killed it deliberately and put it there. I don’t know why someone would do that. Do you?”
“I sure don’t,” I said. “But I’m running late.” I almost added, have a good evening, as I walked on, but stopped myself from saying it. It wouldn’t have been the right thing for the moment.
So that was my 15-minute jaunt through Weirdsville. I’m a little amused and a little shook. And it’s still three days until Halloween.
I finally decided to try to learn what I’m doing when I’m taking photos. By great fortune, two of my co-workers decided to teach a class on smartphone photography. I didn’t even know I could have gridlines on screen while taking the picture until they pointed out the setting. I thought that was only when editing!
It was a basic, two-session class. Information in a classroom last week and a photo walk this week. When I came home, I deleted approximately 60 pictures, and kept a small handful.
Here are my four favorites:
I don’t know what kind of berries these are. But I like the color.
Catalpa leaves and seed pods, with tunnel in the background:
The 25th wedding anniversary is silver. The 50th is gold. The 33rd is corn maze. Or at least that’s how the spouse and I celebrated, along with our younger son.
Shryocks Farm has a different design each year. This time around it’s the United States. We found all eight checkpoints, persisting through a couple of periods of light rain. I might have slowed our progress a little by stopping to take pictures along the way.
Since each checkpoint had a trivia question related to a well-known U.S. landmark or geographical feature, I wanted to scout by random factoids as they popped into my mind. Plymouth Rock! That’s famous! The Liberty Bell! How far are we from Philadelphia? My two guys mostly ignored me and compared maps, searching in a grid pattern. I won’t give spoilers by saying whose method was more successful or whether any of the sites I mentioned were memorialized on corn maze checkpoints.
ISO the Triwizard Cup
Hey, that’s real food.
Fun was had by all. Even the toad, I’m pretty sure.