It was so glorious this morning that, after I dropped the urban assault vehicle off at the dealership, I decided to walk home through Fish Creek Park. I needed a long trek to walk off some of the excesses of the Martha weekend without immediately resorting to full-out workout. That'll happen tomorrow.
It took me about 20 minutes to reach the park, and as I descended into the river valley, the incessant traffic noise faded away behind me, and was replaced with the the buzzing of insects establishing territory in the swaying prairie grasses. Even at 9:00 am the sun was starting to become oppressive and the thought of trekking across that long stretch of native prairie, shielded from any cooling breezes by the cliffs bordering the river valley, was daunting and I began to eye up the glade of trees that run alongside the creek itself.
I left the main trail and followed a path that had been beaten into the grass, a path that grew narrower as the grass grew longer, until I was wading through a slight sliver in the waist deep grass, waking irate insects as I passed. But when I reached the deliciously shaded glen by the water, I knew it had been the right decision. The next several minutes belonged to those all too rare life moments that you know you will remember always. Those moments when you try to drink in every sensation - the way the morning light glints off the Russian olives leaves, the way the sunlight pierces the canopy of leaves only enough to lightly dapple the red shale pathway, the way the morning air is fresh and sweet and full of the promise of the day. It's almost enough to make you want to believe in a divine plan.
All too soon, the path diverged back into the prairie and into the sun, but by then I had been refreshed and I happily trekked along, knowing that before too long I would be pouring myself a fresh cup of coffee at home.
A few years ago, this area suffered substantial flooding, and Fish Creek Provincial Park was hard hit, so much so that a number of bridges were washed out, and Fish Creek itself forged new pathways into the battered soil. The red shale path that I was on looked well-travelled enough, but I should have suspected that perhaps it no longer got a lot of human foot passage when the red-winged blackbird suddenly attacked me.
I had to shield my head with my arms and run, trying to leave the area it was obviously protecting, but I was brought to a sudden stop by the creek looming in front of me. The creek which, swollen with the incessant rains of last month, now cut me off from my destination. For a crazed moment, I considered trying to wade across to escape from the crazed wildlife. The creek is only about 15 feet across, but looks about waist-deep, and in the end I decided to turn around and run the gauntlet of the blackbird again instead.
I know someone who regularly runs in the park and always carries a big stick in case of a cougar encounter, but in my experience it's never the cougars or the bears who get you.
I did make it home eventually, and by the time I reached the big hill where you climb out of the park, I had recovered sufficiently from another of my all-too-frequent crazed bird encounters to enjoy the lung and leg taxing trek up the hill. I always like to end a workout with a big push, and as we only live two blocks from the park, that big hill is perfectly situated. For someone who hates mountains, I sure like climbing up hills.
All things considered, it was a great way to start to exorcise some of the excesses of the Martha weekend, to counteract some of the obscene amount of disgustingly decadent food we ate. With any luck, I'll have some pictures and details of those adventures tomorrow. But first I need to survive a commute without a cd player or even a radio! Nobody suffers more than I do.