Park Adventures

Even when I had Younger Eyes, I was never particularly adventuresome.   I might ride a particularly frightening roller coaster when pressed by my friends or try white water rafting in the Colorado river.   But there was no skydiving or bungie jumping, even though there was a part of me that wondered what it would be like.   In my forties, I ran 13 marathons and participated in a dozen triathlons … I guess hanging on for the last few miles of 26.2 … or swimming in high surf half a mile off the shore at seven in the morning with hundreds of other exercise-nuts qualifies as an adventure.   But now that I’m in my seventies, my adventures are more passive … and they usually take place at Yorba Regional Park where I spend an inordinate amount of my time.  While spotting a particularly fat ground squirrel or seeing a newly hatched baby bluebird might not bring the burst of adrenaline true adventurers crave, they are exactly the what this old curmudgeon craves.   Septuagenarians need endorphins, not adrenaline.

So, after a long week of exceptionally humid weather, it was good to wake today to moderate temperatures suitable for a Saturday morning in the park.   However, I got a bit of a late start, meaning most of the prime (meaning shady) parking places by the lake were taken.  Lately, my favorite spot has been under a small grove of trees which offer atable shaded picnic table on a rise above the rest of the park.  Like a cat, I like a higher vantage point from which to watch the world go by.   The area around the rise is home to a colony of ground squirrels which provide entertainment as they zip in and out of their holes or play tag around the tree trunks.   tagNearby, two family reunions were getting underway, one with one of those ubiquitous jump houses for the kids and the other giving rides in an absolutely pristine car1913 Studebaker.  Nice.  Off to one side, a solitary Canada Goose, sat in the grass, motionless even when I approached.  It seemed to be breathing oddly so I was afraid it was sick.  Then, I looked and it was gone.  Perhaps it was a gooseGuru Goose, meditating.  There was a bit of adrenaline … as I was finishing my morning writing, there was a loud crack as loud as a gunshot and the entire top of a tree crashed to the ground.   Fortunately, no one was nearby.   Quite a few of the trees have been damaged by the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB), an invasive beetle, and have to be taken down.  I suspect this tree will be next.

dogOn my walk, I saw The Squirrel Lady, who is at the park even more than I am.   Her chocolate Lab is getting on in years and moves slowly because of hip displasia.  The Squirrel Lady drives her pet to where the squirrels are, then throws peanuts to attract them.  After months of this routine, the squirrels know the dog can’t move very fast … they walk to the nearest tree and climb up the trunks just out of reach.  Woofie doesn’t seem all that interested in the squirrels but if she points to one, he’ll bark at it.   B. F. Skinner would be proud.  There was also some sort of medievalwar warfare going on at the far end of the park … I kept my distance just in case they were taking prisoners.  As I was finishing up my walk, the bluebird family I’ve been watching turned up, the fledglings still bothering Mom for a meal and Mom saying, You’re on your own now.   Glad to know that happens to other species.


So, that’s all the adventure I need today.  Hope your weekend is a good one.


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One Comment on “Park Adventures”

  1. barrythewiz Says:

    Sure beats sky-diving!

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