Monday, June 20, 2016
Our first real picnic in the spring with my transplanted, (somewhat autistic) sister Debra was at a cozy little park not too far from us, Randolph Park in Dublin (Virginia, not Ireland). Around 4 p.m. the three of us (Sis, husband Frank and myself) took a little stroll down the rather level, handicapped accessible trail in the Randolph Park woods. I think Debra appreciated the fact that it was level, with all kinds of foliage. On more than one occasion she'd marveled at the fact that we have "thousands" of trees in our area -- she came from the desert of Nevada and didn't see any real greenery, and they have "dirt" mountains there, especially around Vegas.
I noticed aging mayapple leaves, and wild berry plants (probably blackberry or raspberry) just beginning a bit above the forest floor, with Solomon's seal, red maple, red or black oak and sassafras (the last mostly around the pond bordering the woods) about.
Debra, with her arthritic feet, didn't walk all that far. We went on the bordered walkway with quotes inscribed in stone every so often (I can only remember Robert Browning's "God's in his heaven/ All's right with the world".) She looked around herself in this peaceful place and said "this is nice. Serene." We got up and walked some more and the path curved around, birds chirping up in the trees. We spied a squirrel not ten feet ahead on the path, which looked odd. It was gray with a reddish tail. Frank surmised that was not normal. He also pointed out the nuts the squirrel had previously stashed, which you could readily see, on a tree with rather shredded bark.
We pivoted back toward our picnic spot, which had the gazebo that overlooks a little pond. But after we finished our hot dogs, I, then Frank, went down to the green, murky water. Among the reeds we spotted "6" green frogs; one had to be a fat male, who'd called every so often. Debra called that a bull frog, but I think there were only green frogs with muddy backs out there. One was really small, light bright green and white underneath, and really cute.
And then a turtle made an appearance.
"Hey, I see a turtle!" said Frank.
"Where?" I asked.
"It peeked out its head and then went back in."
We came back home and I made a banana bread mix she'd given us the previous week. After it came out of the oven Debra and I had half apiece (at least 360 calories -- how will I ever lose weight). There's only a little left, along with the memory of a calming day at Randolph Park.