I am grateful to be the only human at the park today. The rain is slow but heavy as it hits the ground and the pond. I find the only dry spot at the back of the stage used for summer concerts and plays. Little Sugar Creek is moving with purpose and climbing the banks as I sit here. It rushes over rocks and I hope the rain continues it’s slow pace. I would prefer not to get caught in a flash flood with a lap top and my husband’s jeep.
The mallards are active today. They scurry against the current, poking at the banks where leaves and debris have collected. They’re mostly sticking together, the ducks -three females and five males. One male stands off to the side of the creek about fifty feet down. All I hear is water. My fingers grow numb and breath surrounds me. I wish I had a home to go to and hunker down in. It must be teetering on the edge of freezing rain. Visiting on another day would have been wise.
The birds are getting more active. I saw several Cardinals on my walk in, a lot of finches and smaller birds, and one red crowned bird I couldn’t identify. I know it wasn’t a woodpecker; it was too small. I had never seen this bird before. His frame was slight, his feathers washed in shades of brown -all save for his head which boasted a brilliant ruby cap. Somewhere close by, a bird says “chirp-y chirp-y” in quick successive beats. A crow calls from the top of a pine tree. If I only had a blanket and a cup of coffee, this would be a perfect reading spot. I read on the stage at the park in the rain. Sounds right. Sounds good.
The rain comes faster now. There’s a squirrel in one of the Willow Oaks alerting me to movement. He sees the couple and their dog before I hear them. We watch them walk past. Their voices seem to loud. I stop. The squirrel stops. The pass, moving in shepherd sized strides on grass that’s just showing a hint of green. In two weeks, we’ll be able to see the tops of tulips coming up around trees and flower beds but today, it is cold and I can’t feel my fingers moving. I wrap my fists in my sweater. I wish my coat wasn’t at the dry cleaner’s. The squirrel moves again; he and the birds just want me to leave. I think of my last birthday; we spent it here, eating cupcakes on the hill across the pond, sunning ourselves like madmen without spf, amazed by buttercream, dreaming of words and possibility.