Today was a 9.1 mile walk in just over three hours along paved country roads.  Two point six miles was on the White Pine Trail.  It was a perfect Michigan autumn day with the temperature at 65, brilliant sunshine with not a cloud on the horizon.  The oaks were just starting to get a tinge of color while the maples were just shy of being at their peak.                     

I started at the intersection of the White Pines Trail (An old rail bed converted into an asphalt bicycle and walking trail) and the no longer existing town of Edgerton on 13 Mile, four and a half miles East of Sparta.  I walked North and East ending at the Kent County Long Lake Park off M-46.  There was nothing special about today, yet everything was spectacular.  The silence was penetrating, the color was mesmerizing, the sky brilliant. 

Strange Sights are not uncommon.  Here was one.  Along the road, in front of a home set way off the road was a boat.  It hung in the air about ten feet off the ground with a dummy sitting in it with a fishing pole.  As I stopped and looked a car approached, slowed, went passed, and stopped.  As I paused he turned around, came slowly back, and then turned into the drive, slowed down even more, and watched me looking at this strange piece of artistic expression, smiled, waved, and went up his drive. 

Several miles further I came to a farm house with two young teenagers with leaf blowing machines strapped to their backs creating an awful howling noise heard for several hundred meters.  With more than 90% of the leaves still on the 10 Sugar Maples trees they were blowing every single leaf off their yard.  I stopped, pointed to the trees, and said, “You have a long way to go!”  He shrugged, and said, “Yes, I know.”  It must be some kind of punishment.  I cannot imagine them doing this for the next six weeks.

As I turned on to the White Pine Trail I saw a 14 inch snake, thin as a pencil.  I nudged him along so he would not be rode over by the racing bicycles.  He was delighted to get into the grass after I had a good look at him.  Three yards further on, I found another, only eight inches or so.  It made me wonder where the nest was.

Milk weed seed was popping out with the wind catching the cotton type filaments attached to the seed.  Road side trees were largely Red and White Oak, Weeping Willow, Maple, Sassafras, Walnut, Poison Sumac, Hardy Catalpa, Norway and Blue Spruce, Australian, Scotch, and White Pine, among others.

Today’s walk was worth several visits to a counselor.  I am ready for another week.

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