Special (5)K Challenge

I am a walker, and have been from the time I started Junior High and was forced to trek home daily the mile and a half from school.  That’s quite a hike for a 13 year old kid who’d never walked much before.  I would complain to my parents, who both worked – necessitating the walk – but to no avail.  Sometimes I would sneak on a friend’s bus, pretending I was going to her house after school, then walk the 5 minutes home.  I never could figure out why she got to take the bus, when she lived just the other side of the main arterial.  But anyway…

Fast forward several years.  My husband – then boyfriend – took me to a nature refuge near our (then) homes, and the experience changed my life.  I discovered not only a passion for the natural world, but a love of walking that I’d never known before.  I began walking everywhere, whenever time afforded.  I couldn’t get up early enough to walk the 4 miles to work, but I walked home nearly every night.  Even during pregnancy – there I was, humpty dumpty in a business suit, stocking’ed feet stuck into two tennis shoes, heels in a bag at my side.  I thought when I walked, about life and love, and everything else.  Those walks set me right on the path to labor, and I often described the birth process just like a walk home, with a finite start, middle and end.  Walking kept me in shape, despite having gained FIFTY POUNDS that first pregnancy, and after my daughter was born, I walked all the more.  No longer tied to a work schedule, I would walk into town to meet my husband for lunch, our daughter strapped to my chest.  And when she got too big to carry, I’d push her in her stroller.  Everywhere.

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Pigeon mating rituals.

This weekend in one word: Glorious. Let’s face it, Spring is the BEST. Yes, I know I love Fall, and summer rocks, and winter has its perks, but whose spirit doesn’t soar when the weather turns warm, the sky is blue, and trees are casting snowy petals to the wind like confetti. Thankfully we spent almost all of the weekend outside. Yesterday we took a long walk with the ladies into town and back. They both really impressed me with their stamina and stoicism. Only on the return trip did they begin to complain about being tired, and even then, not much. Given that we walked at least 8 miles, I’d say that’s pretty darn good.

My favorite part of yesterday – apart from the “Cream Delight” donuts we had for breakfast and the general pleasantness of the day and company, was witnessing Springtime at its finest in the middle of the city. Rittenhouse Square was quite the scene. And not just the humans. All of creation seemed hepped up and ready for action. We spent a good bit of time watching the pigeons. This was my first foray into the live-action show that is Pigeon Mating, and let me tell you, it was fascinating.

It began with a dance. I noticed one particularly striking brown male strutting eagerly around a female gray. He wound his way round her, following her every move like a defensive basketball player, vigorously bobbing his head and strutting to get her attention. The female seemed less than impressed. Brown Guy was not thwarted. Within seconds he’d puffed out his neck to stellar proportions and began cooing to beat the band. This guy meant BUSINESS. His neck seemed to say, “Baby, Look at ME. JUST LOOK AT THIS NECK. I am THE MAN.” She still seemed disinterested, and in fact, began moving across the grass as though trying to escape. Within seconds, a second male had flown in. A large gray. He mimicked the brown guy’s initial bobbing dance, then BAM! there went the neck. Feathers puffed, flesh engorged and rippling. The two males circled and puffed, locked in hot pursuit of this most-attractive female, and she dodged and wove, completely immune to their charms. Here, there, everywhere across the park there were small groupings of pigeons reenacting this age-old ritual. Every now and then I would see the fruits of their labor come to fruition, as one of the males would leap up onto the back of a female, and seconds later it was over. and Another dance had begun. The whole thing gave me a new-found appreciation for pigeons. Yes, I know everyone in the city (or at least most folks) despise them, but they are truly interesting and beautiful birds.

An all-too-short weekend.

Hope you all had a fun & relaxing weekend.

Me, I got spoiled. On Saturday my husband took the ladies to a friend’s birthday party, leaving me with 3 hours of complete freedom. WOW. I walked into town. I stopped for a chocolate croissant at a little cafe – all by MYSELF. I went clothes shopping at H&M. I cannot tell you how nice it was being able to try on as many clothes as I liked – so many in fact, that I lost track – with no children beating on each other, pestering me about how bored they are or grabbing my behind. I’d almost forgotten what it was like. And it was AWESOME.

Sunday, a beloved & very brave friend took the ladies to the Camden Aquarium, leaving John & I free to go walking with our dog Max, who absolutely LIVES for these rare jaunts as only child.. We explored a local nature refuge, spending a lot of time off the beaten path.

Back in the day this land used to be a whole town. Streets with shops and homes, and people. Before the Philadelphia redevelopment authority confiscated the land and razed it all to the ground to make way for airport (and Korman Suites) expansion. A very sad story, especially since this area, known as The Meadows, was long home to my husband’s family. The whole place is very surreal. Open fireplugs sprout from the ground like metal flowers, and the ground is littered with half-buried construction debris, tires, empty beer cans and other trash. The oddest thing is how many lifeless shoes we found dotting the landscape. Dozens of them. What could have compelled all these people to not only remove, but LEAVE, their shoes like this?? I half-imagined we’d turn a corner and find a big mound of corpses. It’s a very strange place. Feel free to check out a few photos HERE.

And now it’s MONDAY. again. Back to the workweek. I tend to get a little depressed on Mondays. But sometimes I enjoy feeling maudlin, so I’ve been watching the old Boomtown Rats song on Youtube and sort of reveling in it. Another weekend gone. Oh well.