Please read this...A journey of 50,000 steps...more or less...
Fifty thousands steps, more or less...
...or, maybe it was a journey of about 20 miles, .41 of a mile at a time...
...this little adventure began on the last Thursday in January of 2017. Cold, gray, another day without sunshine.
Not sure about the catalyst for this adventure. Yours truly decided to visit the U.S. Forest Service's Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds in Jonesboro on Thursdays. Make it part of a "beat," which is what journalists do to waste time.
Thursday is the day your scribe visits the Union County Courthouse in Jonesboro. Keeping in touch with the pulse of our community. Or, at least part of it.
Initial goal: take at least one pic a month at the picnic grounds. Culminating in an end of year look back. Turns out it will be a bunch more pics, as often happens.
Couple of weeks later, thought, hmmmm, might be good to take a note or two about the experience. Here goes...
Feb. 9. Cold, gray. Spotted a male bluebird. Didn't seem the least bit concerned about having pictures taken.
Feb. 16. Nice day. Bit of sunshine. Much warmer than last visit. Several people walking. Young woman just sitting. Enjoying the day? Young man fishing; line with bobber. Caught a bluegill; said crappie were being caught, too.
Gaggle of geese in pond didn't seem to worry much about the presence of people. Saw a turtle on a log. In February? Spotted a kingfisher, too. Have seen kingfisher a couple of times during visits.
Feb. 23. Unusually warm day for February. Lots of turtles on logs in pond. Only other person: woman walking her dog.
March 2. Sunny day. Bright blue sky. Cooler than last week. Didn't expect to see turtles; yet, there they were. However, the turtles were not moving very fast; as a matter of fact, they weren't moving at all. Five people, four dogs at picnic grounds. My friends the geese are enjoying the sunshine. A chipmunk was kind enough to pose for about half a dozen pics.
March 9. Nice day. Very mild. Sky slightly overcast. A man, with a baby strapped to his chest, and a tiny dog are going for a walk. A woman and a tiny dog also are going for a walk; her tiny dog barks at me. She seems to discourage the dog from chewing off my leg. Watched a goose at the pond carefully moving dried leaves from one spot to the net. Have brief chat with fellow who is waiting for a buddy to go fishing.
March 16. Cool, a bit overcast. Quick visit today. Don't like to do it that way. Dentist appointment coming, though. No turtles to be seen after the past week's unusually cold weather. A woman and her tiny dog, wearing a sweater, going for a walk. Mother (?) Goose appears to be on a nest in an "island" in the pond. Not far away, two other geese are strolling on the grounds.
March 23. Warm day. Turtles are back out on their logs. Geese are noisy.
March 30. Windy, mild day, light rain started to fall. Seen at the picnic grounds today: three people, eight geese and more than 15 turtles. Two of the geese appear to be nesting.
April 6. Sunny, blustery, cool. A man is fishing at the pond. A dog growls at me.
April 13. Today is the first really "warm" day of the season. Three children are playing at the picnic grounds. A woman is walking. Another woman, a regular, is walking her dog. A man is walking, too.
On my own walk, a goose (father goose?) hisses at me. Never had that happen before. Then again, have never been that close to a goose. Closer inspection shows dad was probably watching out for the seven goslings that were with another adult goose (mom?). Gave all of the geese plenty of room. Continued on my way.
April 20. Rain imminent. A few sprinkles fall on the way to the picnic grounds.
Goslings spotted last week are bigger (surprise?); colors are a little darker. Two adult geese (mom and dad?) are keeping watch. I keep my distance. The geese seem satisfied.
While walking around the pond, watched a lone goose coming in my direction. Stopped. Took some pics. Goose stopped, left water on bank just beneath where I was standing. The goose didn't seem to be concerned at all about my presence. We shared a "special moment."
April 27. Kind of overcast today, with an occasional glimpse of blue sky and sunshine. Heavy rain in forecast. I'm the only person at the picnic grounds this afternoon.
Heard a bullfrog for the first time since starting this adventure. Saw a blue bird. Not a bluebird. Indigo bunting?
Goose family was gathered along the pathway around the pond. They watched me. I watched them. We seemed to have a mutual understanding. I take some pictures, turn around, go back from whence I came. (Always wanted to use the word whence.)
While heading whenceward, another lone goose approached. Same one as last time? Goose came close enough I could hear its footsteps. Are we becoming friends?
May 4. Goodness, gracious. It's cold today. Gray sky. Blustery. Occasional sprinkles. Water at pond is way up. Perhaps due to nearly a foot of rain during the past week. Wind is creating "wavelets" (is that a word?). Not a turtle to be seen. Heard an owl call, then another, somewhere off in the distance. Goslings are rapidly becoming gooslings (that, as far as I know, is not a word).
May 11. Sultry today, as in warm and sticky. Lots of sunshine; big, white, cotton ball clouds in a blue sky. A young family appears to be finishing up a picnic. At one point, the goose family joins them. A dog (on a leash) growls at me. Saw lots of fish swimming along the "shore" line in pond.
May 18. Warm and h-u-m-i-d. Very brief rain shower. Initially, nobody else was at the picnic grounds. Even the goose family appears to be taking it easy. As I was leaving, a woman who is a frequent visitor and her dog, which likes to growl at me, arrived.
May 25. Quiet today. Goslings growing.
June 1. Weather today warmest and humidest (?) since we started this little adventure. Signs of damage from May 27 storms: downed tree limbs and such. Saw first dragonflies. Couple of echinacea flowers in butterfly garden, too. A grandfather (I assume) and granddaughter (again, an assumption) appear to be going fishing. She has rod, reel and bucket in hand. Something else, too: "I've got the worms."
June 8. Warm (but not too bad) today. Lots of sunshine.
Did the usual walk around the pond; also spent some time checking out the grounds near the statues of Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Douglas. Saw a tiger swallow tail butterfly in the butterfly garden, which is not far from the statues.
While trying to take some pictures near the pond, a couple of thirsty mosquitoes had lunch, and yours truly was the main course.
June 15. Warm. No, make that hot. And humid. Water level at pond is low. A school of fish seem to follow me as I walk around the pond.
Actually made two visits today. A member of the Kennedy family made a visit to the picnic grounds at noon time. I pondered the historical context of the visit in light of the debate conducted way back in the day by Messrs. Lincoln and Douglas.
June 22. Bit of a drizzle falling under overcast sky. We are experiencing remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy.
Greeted by large, buzzing creature which circles me a couple of times.
Spotted what I think may have been a pileated woodpecker. Hard to tell, for sure, since I'm hardly a bird expert.
Only one turtle was hanging out on a log today.
The "baby" geese, by the way, are "all growed up." Gosh, they don't stay kids for very long.
June 29. Warm today. No, make that hot. And humid. No, make that very humid.
Saw lots of different kinds of dragonflies buzzing around today. Maybe I should learn more about such critters...
...to be continued, hopefully...in the meantime, have yourself a