Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Coming clean

It rained last night.  A lot.  Sometimes there was thunder which is something that always gets little Katie going.  Where Bonnie (the sister sheltie Katie never met) would tremble and cry, then curl up in the smallest possible ball and wait a storm out, Katie takes it on.   She squares her shoulders, plants her feet and barks hysterically at the ceiling or the window, wherever she feels the danger might be coming from because she’s got a family to protect!  Nobody in this family got a lot of sleep last night.

This morning Katie and I did a bit of walking around the yard.  We got completely drenched.  Katie’s fur does the prettiest thing when it gets wet.  It gets curly! (click on the picture to make it bigger so you can see her curly fur!)  This is the closest she wants to get to a bath!

But what I really wanted to talk about was a different kind of ‘coming clean.’  The one where you’re honest about what’s really happening.  I need to tell you how it’s going with two commitments I’ve made; one is to do 30 minutes of exercise for 30 days, and the other is to write at least one letter a week every week from sometime in March (I can’t remember the exact date) until Memorial Day.

I’m happy to say the letter writing campaign is still going, though it’s become more difficult to find people to write to as the weeks go by.  I still have some ideas though and should be able to finish this challenge.  If I get a letter out today that is.  I made Wednesdays my letter writing days…but recently it’s suddenly been Saturday and I realize I have to write to someone RIGHT NOW!  Still it’s been fun.  And I’ve been using some lovely cards that Bree at “Wipe Your Paws” made for me.  They are one of a kind and I’m sure people love to receive them!

The 30 minutes for 30 days commitment?  Not going as well.  For the first 10 days I managed to get myself outside to walk at lunch or weekend mornings.  Then the world seemed to get in the way.  Horrible weather, crazy work days, lack of motivation seemed to overwhelm me.  I missed one day, and committed to adding an additional day on the back of the 30 days.  Then I missed another day.  I tell myself there are no excuses.

Now I’m working on convincing myself that a day lost should not sink the entire program.  Just like a diet, when you fall off the wagon the worst thing you can do is give up completely.  So maybe I need to make that goal a bit smaller, so that I can achieve something and not beat myself up so much.  I remind myself that in dog training we set tasks simple enough so that the dog can be rewarded.  We try not to set the dog up to fail.  That positive reinforcement works better than negative talking.  What works for my dog should work for me, right?

So I need to figure out a way to get myself into the habit of daily exercise with smaller, baby step tasks, so that I gradually make exercise a priority in my sometimes hectic life.  Any suggestions?  I welcome all ideas!

Meanwhile, soggy Katie and I are going to make time for an adventure this Easter weekend.  We hope all of you  have time for adventures too!



The race not run

I spent last weekend in a small town a couple of hours away at the home of a friend.  Once upon a time I would have called her one of my running buddies…but I haven’t been running in two years so I guess now we’re just regular friends.  Friends who happen to get together for running events.

A year ago she did a half marathon that sounded like a lot of fun and I vowed that by this year I’d be in shape to do it with her.  And I was moving along toward that goal, up to six miles, when I messed up my knee.  So though I was registered to participate in the event this year, after spending most of August and September sitting around with ice on my knee I was in no shape to run.

But I didn’t miss out entirely!  Three of our little band of four actually DID run the half marathon on Sunday.  I went with them to the spaghetti dinner the night before, spent the night at our “runners slumber party” and got up early to see them off the next morning.  Then the husband of one of the runners and I went out to eat breakfast while they ran the race.

Doesn’t seem a bad thing does it!  And it wasn’t.  It was great to see everyone, to talk about old races we had done, to plan some races for the future (because FOR SURE by next year I’ll be back on track!) and generally support each other in our attempts to foil the aging process as we keep active.

The race itself was small, but beautiful. It ran through the streets of a quaint, Norman Rockwell type town for a mile…

…then most of the rest of it was along a rails to trails path that ran past ponds and colorful trees, farms and open fields.

I got to walk some of it, and kept myself busy taking photographs of the beautiful scenery, including the current header picture, as I waited for the front runners to come back by on their out and back race.

So this old runner had a good time, even though I didn’t get to run the race.  Running can be a solitary sport.  Or it can be a sport that brings solitary people together in celebration of good health and friendship.

Great job ladies!  You’re all my heroes!


Knee strategy

I’m going into my fourth week of knee issues now.   It seems to be getting better as I rest it, ice it, compress it, elevate it.  You know…the mantra of any sporting person….RICE.  I called my doctor’s office last Friday to see if I could get an appointment this week.  Turns out he’s busy all week, and all they could offer me was to have me call at 8:30 this morning and see if I could get in.  I couldn’t even get past the busy signal.

Meanwhile this morning the knee feels almost 100%.  I even took Katie out for a bit of a walk around the neighborhood to see if I could get it to hurt again.  Nada.  So I went back online to see what I could figure out.  Perhaps I have tendinitis, an overuse injury that just takes time and care to heal.  That makes sense as I can’t pin my knee pain to a specific event, as people with tears in their MCL or meniscus usually can.  If it really is just tendinitis I’m already doing everything there is to do to make it better.  And it is getting better.

So, though I haven’t reached my doctor yet I’m feeling a bit better about the prospects of being able to walk around a grocery store without ending up with ice on the knee.  Maybe someday I’ll even be able to take a walk that is longer than six blocks.  If I’m careful.

I’m registered to do a half marathon in October.  I guess that isn’t going to happen as I’m unable to train, and should already be up to running 10 miles or so.  I can’t even walk one at the moment.

Maybe I’ll just go and cheer everyone else on.



Knee therapy – not!

Katie was an extra specially wound up Sheltie-girl yesterday.  And if you’ve ever lived with a Sheltie — well — you know that they’re pretty much wound up enough on a normal day.  So even though I knew that I couldn’t walk around on the uneven ground of the park she had me at my wits end by late in the afternoon when I asked her if she wanted to go for a ride.


So we went into the neighboring village, a small quaint town with expensive homes and a tiny downtown.  Also a very busy town, lots of cars and motorcycles and people and other dogs and stuff.

We parked at the main intersection and sat there awhile getting used to all the weekend traffic.

She did pretty well, but the flat ears belay the fear.

So we moved a bit away from the corner to sit on a park wall.

That was a lot better.  For a moment.

Then we walked through the two blocks of town.  Katie got to check out the old bank and see if she had any money deposited there.  She did not.

Getting away from town was more enjoyable, we walked by old houses…

…and smelled lots of food being grilled in the back yards.

At one point she stopped on the sidewalk as if to say…”carry me Mom!”  Sorry baby, you’re going to have to walk yourself.  Mom’s knees are done!

We had a lot of fun, met some resident pups, smelled some good stuff and got a little less scared of new places.  All good things.   Except for the knee which is now elevated and being iced.  Again.

Hey Mom! Wanna PLAY?


The end of the race

Eventually I did get to the finish line of my 8K run/walk Saturday at the Crim Festival of Races.  What a relief!  But still, I felt pretty good other than my knee.  It takes a LOT of people and a lot of work to put these races on for us.  Just at the finish line alone there was an orchestrated effort to keep us comfortable.

There was the woman with the towels that had been soaking in ice water…

…and the volunteers handing out medals for the ten mile finishers.

The tables loaded down with fruit…

…and water….

….and sports drinks.

Volunteers were handing out popsicles which were just the ticket.  I got the orange one, my favorite!

People were all around talking about their race, and these little girls were being interviewed about their Teddy Bear Trot for the local TV station.

But eventually most of us ended up like this:

And probably most of us, at least those of us that are not elite runners have spent today sitting around with our feet up.

I certainly have!


The Crim and Special Olympics

Last night I had a pre-race dinner with three running friends.  We all ran the “Crim,” a fundraiser for Special Olympics, this morning.  More on our race later.  As we ate  our pasta dinner yesterday evening we heard cheering out on the street and a high school band playing.  We made it outside in time to see many of the Special Olympians running their races.

You see, the Crim Festival of Races is a big deal here in Southeast Michigan.  It’s been going on for over 30 years and has grown to include the 10 mile road race, an 8K (5 miles), a 5K (3.1 miles) and a family walk as well as a Teddy Bear Trot for the little ones; all on Saturday morning.  Friday evening the Special Olympians run their own races and I have to say it’s hard to keep from crying as you watch them run or walk.  Most of them are grinning from ear to ear, and the crowd cheers for everyone.  It reminds me of a quote I read in some running book years ago.  Something like “how many middle aged folks get to do anything where people line up and cheer you on?”  That’s why we run, and that’s why they run too.  We’re not so different.

Generally I run the 10 mile race.  But these past couple of years I’ve been injured.  This year I had great hopes of being back on the 10 mile course, with it’s unweildy hills, fraternities offering beer, neighborhoods cheering, gospel choirs singing..well…you get the picture.  But two weeks ago while training I did something bad to my knee and even though I’ve stayed off of it, have iced it and heated it and massaged it, it’s still painful.  So I “downsized” to the 8K figuring I could walk 5 miles and I’d still get to see much of the course and enjoy the amazing support from the families, musicians and other runners out there.

The wheelchair racers headed off at 7:30  Then it was time for the over 10,000 runners and walkers doing the 10 miles to start.  Ten thousand runners is an amazing sight and it made me sad not to be out in that massive crowd waiting for the gun to go off.

By the time I saw the 10 milers off and got back to the finish line 3 blocks away the wheel chair racers had already completed their 10 hilly miles!  Talk about speedy!!

Those of us doing the 8K got started at 9:30.  It was a wonderful day for a road race!  Cool and sunny.  Perfect.  We had lots of support along the way, from the preacher type urging us on…

…to the cheerleader girls shouting for us to rally on our way up a hill.

There were the frat boys offering Crispy Creams…

and families with small children providing water.

There were singers and musicians along the way like this saxophone quartet…

…and a family that every year beats a rhythm on buckets for the entire time (hours and hours) that runners and walkers are going by.

I felt pretty good most of the way…

…until the middle of mile 4.  Then the knee started to give me trouble.  But I found that it hurt less if I was running, so I tried to run as much as I could.  Too bad I hadn’t TRAINED to be running!

Here are a couple of amusing photos…first the back of one woman’s shirt that made me laugh…

…and second, a beautiful little old lady, standing alone ringing a cowbell for us as we ran by…

…and a little old man playing his accordion as he walks down the sidewalk!

And then I was at the finish!  This is already too long…so I’m going to post the finish line pictures tomorrow!    Suffice it to say I made it, bad knee and all…and it was a wonderful day.


What 8.5 miles sounds like

This morning I went out for my long walk in preparation for the 10 mile race coming up in a couple of weeks.  The plan was to do 8 miles; my favorite hilly 4 mile loop and then a less hilly 4 mile out and back.  The plan changed during the first mile when I had to pass a recently squished groundhog.  To avoid having to pass that groundhog three times I decided to do the first 3 miles of my favorite hilly 4 mile loop, then turn around and do 2 of those miles in the other direction, add a different 2.5 out and back and then head for home, holding my breath when I passed said deceased groundhog while looking studiously the other way.  Good plan.

Since I wasn’t going to carry a camera I thought I’d share my walk with you through the sounds I heard along the way.  Think of this as an audio nature report.  You get to add the visual through your own imagination.  You’re welcome to come along:

Early in the walk I am amused by the sounds of brown squirrels barking angrily at me from high up in massive old oaks and tall hickory trees.  Then, while I am focusing on the trees, trying to find the squirrels, there comes a startling rustle from the tall grass near the edge of the road.   About 6 inches from my left foot!   A very much alive groundhog hustles for safety under cover of the grass to his drain pipe underneath a driveway.  And before I can recover from that a loud swooshing noise makes me literally jump as hundreds of blackbirds sweep up and out of the trees overhead, then swarm around and land, only to sweep up into the sky over and over.  The sound is amazing and indescribable.

Chugging up a hill I tried to keep my steps and even my breathing silent as I creep past a house that has three dogs in the yard.  They have never actually come out into the road, but they bark a lot, and it was such a peaceful morning that I don’t want to incite them.  Success!  On beyond the dogs’ house I head downhill and approach a tight corner.  I’m on the inside where cars coming up the hill and rounding the corner can’t see me.   I hear a car coming up behind me so I can’t cross to the other side of the road.  I remind myself that one car’s noise can often cover up a second car’s approach so I slow down.   Sure enough just as the first car passed me another, undetected, came toward me from around the corner.  As I hopped up the bank to give the car room I make up a saying:  “A  wise country walker is vigilant at all times.”

Moving down the hill, coming out of the woods and heading across the wetlands a young male cardinal chirps at me from the underbrush along the road and later bright yellow and green goldfinches chatter happily as they hop among the grasses of the marsh.  As I approach the backside of town I listen to the rumble of a train coming and the hum of air conditioning units straining under the rising heat of another summer day.

I turn around in town, the end of mile 3, and walk back toward the marsh this time moving on the other side of the road.  A bit of water gurgles down the drainage ditch, widening and getting deeper as it gets closer to a stream.  At the bottom of the hill small frogs plop from the sides of the ditch landing splat into the water.  A chickadee goes through his litany of calls, then hops out to the end of a branch to watch me go by.

Back up into the cool dark woods I climb, the hum of the frogs in the swamp replaced by the higher pitched hum of bugs accented by what I think of as the “futuristic bug,” the one with the high pitched electronic sound that starts and stops, gaining in volume then cutting out.  I creep by the dogs’ house again and sigh in relief as I make the edge of their property without hearing their excited barking.  I’m further along the road, under the canopy of trees and hidden by the brush when I hear:  “DON’T GO THERE! DON’T GO THERE!”  I stop…consider…and wait to hear what’s next.  Then I hear:  “GOOD DOG!”  I laugh -and mosey on.

Now I’m five miles into my walk and I’m begin to have trouble with my IT band.  That’s a muscle or ligament or something that holds your kneecap in place.  I think.  Anyway the inside of my right knee is starting to get sore, and it is distracting me from the sights and sounds of walking in the woods.  It’s making me watch where I place my feet and not the scenery.  I began to hear nothing except the argument in my head.  Should I head for home and just do 6 miles?  Or continue on and risk injury?  A lawn mower sputters to life somewhere nearby.  The argument continues.  But just before the corner where I must make a decision I begin to walk on pavement after miles of walking on uneven dirt roads.  The knee feels much better now.  It’s still a beautiful day.  I had committed to 8 miles.  Heck I still have water left in my bottle so I continue on.

Now the sound of the freeway dominates my walk.  But along the way a chipmunk scurries into the underbrush sounding like something much larger.  A blue-jay cries.  Mourning doves coo.  I notice the sun is beating down and there are no woods to hide in.  The booming of a radio alerts me to a car coming up from behind and I step onto the shoulder.

Mile 7 and my knee is no longer having a good time.  Soon I’m not hearing any sounds other than my knee shouting at me and my mind berating my bad decision.  By mile 8 I’m considering hitch hiking.  Then with half a mile to go I’m just watching my feet and slowly slogging away.  One more hill, one more corner.  I stand in my neighbor’s sprinkler to rest.  I wonder about this whole 10 mile walk thing which is coming up in two weeks as I hobble home.

Now I’m sitting with the leg up, ice on the knee.  Katie is licking the salty slime off the rest of me.  Silly girl.  They say what doesn’t kill you makes you strong.

Here’s hoping that’s true.



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I had my whole day planned out yesterday.  The 2 mile run, some job searching stuff, then off to the grocery store for Aunt V,  deliver the groceries to her and visit a bit, then on to donate my old cell phone to a woman’s shelter, then maybe a bit of shopping just for fun.  But you know what they say about the best laid plans.

I got the 2 mile run in, and completed a job application for a library job nearby.  I was crabby because I had suffered a lack of sleep the night before.  I was hanging onto my plan somewhat desperately –  all I really wanted to do was head back to bed – when the phone rang and husband said it was my Ann Arbor Aunt.  For a moment I thought “DRATS!  I can’t fit anything else into my overly planned day!”

And it’s true she DID want to get together to do something.  In the beginning I wasn’t feeling very gracious, but reason overcame my illogical crabbiness.  She wanted to meet me and Katie down at our favorite park, which is halfway between where we both live.  And it was sunny out!  AND I’d been thinking I should take Katie to that park someday soon, it’s so beautiful in the spring.  So I revamped the plan and agreed to meet her.

I packed up Katie and all her stuff (you know the drill; water, bowl, leashes, treat bag, poop bag) and me and the camera and off we went.  I could feel the morning’s tension seeping away.  Especially when we crested a hill and I noticed the beautiful clouds.  I just had to stop and capture them.  Good thing I left the house early for our 2:00 p.m. meeting…lots of time for pictures!

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Then about half way to the park I realized I had forgotten the poop bag!  And Katie ALWAYS does her job almost as soon as we start our walks in the park.  It’s like she saves it up for a public place.  SIGH.  So I did a little U-turn and stopped at the bank to get some cash, then a bit later on we stopped in at Colsanti’s, a little grocery store.  It’s kind of a plant nursery, gourmet groceries and produce market complete with a bird aviary.  I’d been there once before a long time ago.  My plan was to find something to buy that I actually needed and which would require them to give me a plastic grocery bag.  Which I could use as a poop bag.  Good thing I left home early….lots of time for grocery shopping!

As I was contemplating purchasing white potatoes or strawberries I heard a strange sound directly overhead.  I glanced up and saw a large toy train chugging along on a suspended track.  Strange I thought, but then as I looked around, the whole place was quite eclectic.  Mounds of fruit and vegetables, a gift store with cute little things, pots of plants, a wonderful deli, and a train circling overhead.

I bought some potatoes, a few scones and some crunchy cheese sticks and headed back to the car and Katie.  As I stepped outside something made a terrible screeching sound.  The noise was coming from a huge outdoor bird aviary.  Peacocks!  Dropping off the groceries, checking on Katie who was waiting patiently in her crate in the car, I grabbed the camera and went to investigate the birds.

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They were beautiful!  Several blue peacocks, and a giant white peacock who was showing off.  Plus some turkeys all puffed up.  I watched them for a few minutes then realized I needed to get to the park!  Good thing I left early…

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When Katie and I arrived at the designated meeting place deep in the park (at exactly 1:59) my Aunt was already there, and soon Katie, she and I were off on a walk.  The place was beautiful, swans out on the water, wildflowers tucked into the trees, dogwoods in bloom, the redbuds were splashes of bright fuchsia among the lime green new leaves of the larger trees, huge patches of wild purple violets smudging the ground.  Gorgeous.  You won’t see pictures of this because the camera battery died right about then.  So you’ll have to imagine it yourself, which in reality is sometimes better anyway!

We walked 2.4 miles, and Katie did really well.  And that poop bag that I went so far out of my way to acquire?  We never needed it.  Of course.

So the lesson learned is this.  When you’re crabby, when you feel like you need to get certain stuff done, when you’re not feeling creative or adventurous, let it go, take the road presented to you, keep your eyes open and I bet you’ll see some beautiful stuff.

When you’re least expecting it.

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Come take a mall walk with me

funky art 055 Almost every morning I’ve been going up to the mall to walk.  It’s mostly me and a bunch of old people –  at least that’s the way it seemed when I first started walking.  But lately I’ve been noticing individual “regulars” that are walking  just about every day.  It’s somewhat like it used to be when I ran at a local park every Saturday morning.  You’d see a lot of the same people and it got so you’d raise a hand in greeting and mutter a quick “Morning!” to them as you passed each other.

At the mall there’s not so much greeting going on, but today there were a few people that locked eyes and nodded, and even a couple that uttered morning back when I offered it.  So maybe I’ve become a regular too.  As long as I’m not one of the old ones, that’s OK.

Most mornings I get to the mall early enough to get 2 or 3 miles (laps) in before all the stores open.  I mark my progress by passing the Rain Forest Cafe which has water falls, monkeys, elephants and butterflies moving in animation along the outside walls when it’s open.  Most mornings I get 2 or 3 of my 4 laps finished before they start moving.  Today I arrive a bit early and my goal is to get all 4 of my laps done before the crocodile begins to roar and the waterfalls start sending up their morning fog.

So here’s some of the people I see up there nearly every morning:

A tiny Asian woman with her walker.  Always dressed beautifully, her oxygen tank sitting on the seat of her walker, she wheels around the 1 mile loop surprisingly quickly, head held high.  No discernible limp mars her gait.  Without the oxygen tank to slow her down I bet she’d be a speed demon with that walker.

A couple that always walks hand in hand; he wears a leather Indiana Jones hat and a long white beard.  They don’t saunter exactly but they’re in no hurry either.  They’re probably my age, so they’re not old.  But  also not so young.  It’s nice to see the affection between them.

The older man with the obvious side effects of having had a stroke; one leg swings wide and slowly, one arm dangles uselessly at his side.  He isn’t moving fast.  But he’s moving.  He doesn’t look at anyone, but he makes it around the “track.”  More than once.  Every day.

The middle aged black man that walks quickly holding a phone to his ear the entire time, conducting an animated conversation all the way around…and around…and around.  Every single morning he’s on that phone and I wonder if it’s the same person each day…I wonder if  it’s some sort of illicit affair that causes him to only be able to talk when he’s away from home on his walk.  I realize I’m starting to write whole stories about these people that I see every day but have never met.

A couple of women, probably my age, maybe slightly older.  One is heavier, the other is very slim.  They always walk just a bit faster than me.  Sometime during the morning they will pass me and I am never able to catch up to them again.  They talk nonstop about family and relationships and other people.  Interesting conversation to listen to.  In road races I used to run behind pairs of people talking and shamelessly eavesdrop to take my mind off of the pain of running.  I’d do the same at the mall but I can’t keep up!

The younger woman in shorts and a Tshirt wearing an Ipod even though there is great walking music playing overhead.  She is swinging her arms and moving right along.  If I were jogging I would still be slower than her.  She is in great shape and I remember evaluating female runners in the same manner I’m watching her now.  Wondering if she got this way by walking, or is just naturally lucky.  Wondering if I should move along a bit faster.

The pairs of young mothers pushing baby carriages with their youngsters asleep.  The mothers are talking and walking quickly, as if they need to get as much adult conversation in as quickly as possible before they head back to their children filled days.  The mothers all look so young, pony tails swept up, no makeup, big wedding/engagement rings on their hands.  Women of  leisure in the sense they aren’t working, but women in reality who have no leisure time at all.

The young man in a wheelchair going around and around, listening to his own Ipod.  Working out his shoulders and arms I suppose.  He doesn’t have one of those modern efficient wheelchairs and it looks a lot like work.  But then, my own feet are hurting by mile 3 so I guess if we do it right, we’re all doing a lot of work.  He smiles at me each time we meet, one of the few that acknowledges me.

So that’s a quick picture of my walk at the mall.  I’ve got to speed up now,  I want to finish before that crocodile wakes up.


A challenge accepted

Frozen frost walk Jan 17 2009 016 I woke expecting to write about a wonderful concert I attended last night in Ann Arbor.  And I  still plan to write that blog.  But the combination of another blogger’s challenge to take a walk with a camera and find those beautiful things generally overlooked along with this morning’s beautiful frozen fog made me eager to head outside.  So this morning instead of walking my four miles at the mall, I walked “around the block” here at home, a hilly four miles through woods and wetlands with endless possibilities for creative photography.

You can read about the challenge and enjoy my blogger friend’s walks in the Upper Peninsula here:

As it turns out the challenge for me was to limit myself to showing you only six photos.  She challenged us to take a walk around the block; I did and ended up with 120 photos!  I’m trying my best to show you a little bit of everything in the following six.   (I cheated somewhat by not counting the initial picture of tree along the side of the road that someone had decorated with a few red ornaments and a red star.  Out in the middle of nowhere.)

The fog froze in tiny jagged shards of ice that clings along every twig and weed.  I was wishing that I had a SRL digital camera so that I could show you how fascinating it was.  But my little point and shoot did a pretty good job.  I didn’t take my reading glasses along, so I had no idea what I had actually captured until I downloaded at home.

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It was tempting to focus on the minutia everywhere, to see all the tiny artwork that had been sculpted overnight.  But the bigger picture was beautiful as well.

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Sometimes I thought that I should have been doing black and white photos.  But there were subtle colors everywhere.

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Still, some of the most interesting sights were those small places that told a story.  Like this pile of broken nut shells at the base of a tree.  Some squirrel has cleaned house!

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And the sad art in the trunk of a dead ash tree, the paths of the ash borer that killed most of the ash trees in our state.

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And finally on my way back through town a little bit of civilization; the woodshed in someone’s backyard.  Complete with piles of wood inside.

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I have so many other interesting photos, but I accept the challenge of showing you just six.  I wish I could also share with you the sounds and smells along the way.   The scent of a skunk nearby, the woodsmoke from the chimneys of the homes I passed.  The sounds of a cardinal high in a tree, the chickadee chirping nearby, crows flying high calling to each other.  And the church bells, ringing as I came down from the high hills to walk across the wetlands just at the edge of town.

It was a wonderful walk, and I thank my UP blogger friend for challenging me to get outside and walk.  Such a gift.

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