I don’t want to sound curmudgeonly, but the truth is that I would generally like to be away from other humans. Obviously, I have my friends, but there’s a reason I work a job that has me solo the vast majority of the time.
When I make my way to natural spaces, including local parks, that desire for solitude is even more prevalent.
That’s why today was a bit of a surprise to me. I didn’t seem to mind the humans in this park. I even spoke to a few of them voluntarily.
I found myself beside Harbor’s Edge Park and in need of a break from driving, so I parked the car, set my timer for 20 minutes (I try to hit the 20 minute mark when walking because I understand that to be a significant tipping point when it comes to health benefits), and started walking around the park on it’s delightful loop trail.
The trees alone were worth the visit.
But in addition to the trees, I’d seen that there were fitness park equipment placed sporadically around the park. I don’t always use such tools, but if I see them, the options that they provide make me much more likely to stop.
Which brings me to the fitness stuff. In the end, I wound up spending a bit longer there than originally planned, but you won’t hear me complain.
While I was looping the park, one gentleman on a bike passed me going in the opposite direction, and not only did he acknowledge me, but he wished me a wonderful day, and you know something? I think he actually meant it.
Going to the Dogs
If you know me at all, you know I love dogs. All canines, really. And the more they are in their natural state, the happier I am. The don’t have to be spending their time with me really, as long as they’re enjoying themselves, that is what I’m really looking for.
First, I came across the older couple below. They were playing with their dogs down at the water’s edge. One pup (the poodle) was doing its own thing. I think it was chasing lizards, based on it’s movement / actions. The Irish setter was fetching a ball in the water. Neither could have been happier.
Shortly after, the girl with the chair arrived with her own dog (the black lab) and everyone was off leash and having a blast. Seeing the excitement in their body language was enough to make me actually laugh out loud.
The Cooper’s Hawk
I’d noticed a young woman walking around the loop with me. She was young and attractive, and that always makes me a little extra cautious. Well, the young part does at least. I’m a big guy, and I never want them to be concerned with the big dude in their orbit. So I work pretty hard at remaining harmless. I keep my distance etc. Simple, really, and as I see it, just common curtesy.
I noticed at one point that she’d stopped a ways ahead of me and was clearly staring up into the trees. I assumed she was watching some animal, and she was.
I slowed, so as to not startle her or whatever she was watching, and eventually I saw it myself.
We discussed it briefly, and made some WAGs (Wild Ass Guesses) as to what it might be. Eventually, I used Google Lens to determine that it’s a Cooper’s Hawk. She seemed impressed, and I explained that I’ve learned to use Lens for everything from butterflies to plant types, and how it works remarkably well as I continued on my next lap around the park.
When I got back to the same spot, both she and the hawk were gone.
The King on His Throne
The last thing I saw that was of interest was this squirrel. Nothing life changing, but it was just kinda cool the way he was perched on his little throne, munching away, all backlit by the sun as it came down in dappling little bits through the canopy.
I saw him as I was making my way to the ‘doggy fountain’ to refill my water bottle, and I wished him a wonderful day.
And yeah, I really meant it.