Paradise from Hell
I live in a section of town which has a beautiful park, large fountain in the center near the restrooms; the park is surrounded by modest homes and condos. I live in one of the condos; I see trees and hear the fountain which really is a beautiful sound while sitting on my modest patio. One morning soon after my husband left me to be with his secretary, I was sitting outside with a hot cup of coffee, it was the first official day of Autumn the trees had not yet turned except for a few who started to get a tinge of yellow. The smell of dry leaves and the rustling sound when they skipped along their way, squirrels skittering hoping to gather enough resources for the winter months. This to me is a special dance that nature coordinates each season giving us humans a chance to participate or hunker down. Normally I hunker down, the cold seeps within my inner core I get a chill that will not quit, darkness stays around much too long in the mornings, and arrives much too soon in the evening. Yet this little corner of town is my paradise, I have a hint of the country while living in a city. I have decided to take on something that has been haunting me, walk alone through the park. To some this may seem no big deal, I see many people walking singularly seeming to meander and enjoying the solitude not wanting to share these precious moments with anyone. I myself am a bit skittish believing there is a boggy man behind every bush. I will conquer this today.
After setting my coffee cup in the sink, I downed myself with walking shoes, a sweatshirt, jeans, my purse, I plan on walking the entire path which loops around the perimeter of the park and intertwines within the center meeting at the fountain. The toughest one will be the perimeter, most people seem to prefer the loops which intertwine, then congregate at the fountain. Which means very little pedestrians walking the perimeter leaving me alone so I will start there right from my patio my steps start quickly as if I am escaping but I slowly calm myself and find I am enjoying things I cannot see from my patio.
I was so absorbed with watching the squirrels and chipmunks chattering and running around I did not notice anyone approach, he went by me quickly I jumped about two feet off the ground he had his dog with him they were jogging.
At that particular moment the wind picked up the trees made creaking sounds as the leaves rustled, something touched my cheek, again I nearly flew out of my skin but it was only a leaf which stuck to my hair in its decent. Making it a quarter of the way around shrugging off my resent startling’s I notice a small building resembling a shed, it had a window which was open, an overhang that could be considered an awning, carefully I walked up and heard a muffled whimper. My first instinct was to run; it might be a sick raccoon or skunk; my new resolve was to take on this park so I inched ever so closely, just as I came around the corner something leaped at me and clung to my face. Black squirrel had been groaning over some acorns another squirrel ran off with. It seemed like the squirrel clung to me forever yet in a moment he was gone. I stood trying to catch my breath; berating myself about the old saying first impressions are the best and listen to them. Well I survived that with a mere scratch I am determined to finish this loop. Half way around the perimeter I was back to enjoying my surrounds, admiring the sumac which was changing colors, the hedge ran quite a ways not giving way to any path or opening as I was nearing the end of the hedge something ran across my foot, I halted and held my breath as the skunk turned and looked at me then continued it’s run because right behind it was the dog that had been jogging with his master, I hear the master calling his name “Butch leave it! Butch stop!” around the edge of the hedge the owner came trying to grab Butches lead which was dragging behind him. The lead came close to my foot so I stomped on it; hoping to hold it long enough for Butches owner to grab it; all it did was take me off my feet and landed me on my ass. It did actually give the owner a chance to grab the leash, drag Butch back before he got sprayed, yet you could smell the stench just the same. Butch came and nuzzled my ear wondering if I was ok, his owner squatted down to help me up apologizing and asking if I were ok. I was rattled but ok. I continued my walk with no further incident. I have to admit I was glad I went, but from now on I will enjoy Paradise from my patio, and resist the urge to visit hell again.