You can’t see it in the photo. So I invite you to image behind the photographer, at the edge of the parking lot. A paved walking path. Open during daylight hours. (I’ve never been much for walking in the dark.) Adults — do you want to exercise the body first? Or do you prefer after you check out your library items and stash them in your vehicle? Are the children rowdy? Perhaps a little physical exercise first before they enter and use their “inside” voices.
In recent weeks, I’ve taken my morning walk a little earlier. It’s not a big change, twenty minutes or so.
The scene is much the same. Yet a few differences appear. The sun is a touch lower. The air a degree cooler. A line is forming outside the plasma center. A different group of people are walking (or being walked by) dogs. Traffic is a different mix of business trucks and private vehicles.
And I get to play a game. Will I be successful is walking the gauntlet? Or will I end up with an unplanned shower?
Cold rain. Wind. Snow swirling and dancing across the ground.
Three good reasons to move the daily walk into the mall.
Nice flat surface. People to watch. Dry and warm.
Walk, walk, walk. Past the row of shops, loop around at the department store, and return past the kiosks. There’s a couple doing the same path at a different speed. Up the stairs to another level. Make a oval past different shops. Savor the smell from the food court. Pause to adjust the shoelace. Walk. Walk. Walk.
Oh, good. Exactly what I need before I summon the energy to one final lap of the businesses.
The park appeared tiny from the road past the hospital. Aside from a modest parking lot and a little wild area along a small creek there wasn’t much too it.
Well…there was this footbridge. It must lead to something.
So on a fine January day, I parked in the lot and went exploring. I needed the steps for my exercise program. And when weather permits I prefer fresh to mall recycled air.
Step, step, step over the creek. The wooden planks bring the story of the three Billy goats crossing the bridge where the troll lived. (O, that’s an old story which my father told with much expression.)
Asphalt paths wound past ball fields, branched to give a choice on into the woods or loop around on the level past a second parking lot. I took the wooded route and admired the woods at rest. Leaves on the ground. A few patches of brown grass. Rocks exerting authority when the eye is not distracted by busy summer growth. A few birds gathering lunch and calling to friends.
It’s good to take a risk and cross over the bridge to explore.
One of the more photographed objects this summer has been the moon. Or should I say “super moon”. By now I think you’ve see video on the TV or still pictures on Facebook with the extra large, extra close, full moon framed by famous landmarks.
It’s a beautiful site. One of the few astronomical events enjoyable where artificial light distracts from planets and other transient objects. It hangs there, above the horizon as a yellow to orange disk pulling your attention. (Careful when driving.)
A few days ago, while out for my morning walk, I encountered it again. Large, white in a blue sky. I can hear it call — Hey! I’m more than a nightlight.
Three thousand people makes quite an early morning crowd. And that’s just the runners and walkers. You need to add more for family and friends that came along to encourage plus the few thousand schoolchildren arriving for the events to follow.
We started promptly. The “elite” runners and others that knew what they were doing in the front of the pack. Then we all surged forward, stepped across the electronic timing line, and parted around the photographer on his ladder.
The herd, myself included, advanced on the park road, crossed a bridge, and turned a corner to go up the hill. I saw my first and only casualty prior to the first mile marker. I’m thinking Mr. Squirrel fell victim to the final motor vehicle to pass by instead of a runner or stroller.
Step, step, step. Runners passed me then slowed their pace. I kept steady and eased ahead. Once pause to retie a shoelace. Step, step, step. Accept the cup of water at the half-way point and keep moving. Down a slope, up again, another corner and around the outdoor theater. Mile two is past. Where’s the next one?
The quicker among us have finished and come along the side to encourage others with the sight of the earned necklace. Step, step, step.
The Goal is within Sight!
Need to rest after your walk? Starr Tree Farm is now available in paperback.
Part of the adventure of living in the center of the United States is the weather.
Winds and weather fronts approach from any direction. (Okay, from the East is rare.) During the winter cold arctic air attacks from the North. Then it’s pushed away by some warm air with Gulf moisture. Add a system from the Pacific after it’s shed moisture over the Western mountains. You have a virtual stew of weather — a place where on one day you can have snow, ice, rain, and sunshine.
A few weeks ago we had a snow storm — on of those that went into the record books as one of the top five. Since then we’ve had a mix of warmer sunny days, another ration or two of snow to remind us of the season, and rain to hasten the snow melt. Only remnants of the snow and ice linger in the shady places. I found this example on a popular hiking/biking trail.
This couple stays outside and welcomes winter visitors.
Many of their December companions are gone now — stakes pulled from the ground, electric cords wrapped, and all put into a box for the next eleven months. But this pair can stay a little longer.
January needs a few bright spots. Perhaps it’s new clothing received at Christmas. Red candles can add a dash of color and a cozy scent to a room. And my personal favorite — comfort food. Chili? Soup? Mashed potatoes beside grilled meat?
Let the welcoming committee greet you, invite you to come inside to warm your toes and nose and enjoy one or more winter pleasure.