Making time to look at the world

So, Monday was a bit of a day; I slept poorly, and had to deal with a slew of problems right after awakening and pretty much simultaneously. A music-related post I’d been working on for some time went up, but didn’t get much traction, even though I thought it would have. Then I had to deal with a non-responsive provider (Magma/Primus) and come up with a work around.

And then I had enough:

I decided that it was time for me to go for a walk. One of *those* walks.

So off I went.

As soon as I made it to Bordeleau Park, things started to improve – I watched a pair of robins running around. I always find robins entertaining. Then I made it to Sussex, crossed over the bridge to the beginning of the Rideau River Eastern Parkway and began my journey southwards.

A heron standing on the river bank, just minding it’s own business while I watched it.

A pair of dragonflies appeared, pacing me for a while. A bit later, I came across a type of club tail I’ve been seeing lately, but unable to identify as I can never get close enough to get a photo of.  I’ll have to bring along my book on dragonflies or just have to take some notes when next I see one.

Once I crossed into River Road Park, just how low the Rideau River is became very apparent to me. And how all the geese seem to prefer standing on rocks in the river than in the river… on one foot. Curious.

Around the Rideau Tennis Club there was a bit of a photo shoot with some tweens with bikes and a few adults – who clearly didn’t realize that this path was near it’s peak time for traffic. They’d find a spot, pose, blocking the path and (obviously) getting wrathy comments from people for not paying attention.

There were ducks and ducklings – who are *always* cute to watch, squirrels fighting over turf, and then crossing under the 417 (noisy!).

I made it up to Bank & Riverside to discover that half the bridge is under construction. I turned onto Bank for a quick stop at the Dairy Queen for a small dipped twist cone, and returned to the path.

I don’t enjoy the section of the path up to about Bronson – it’s close to a busy road and noisy enough that I stopped listening to my audiobook (Kevin Mitnick’s The Art of Deception).

A few minutes later, things got curious; I noticed something unusual on the ground – what seemed like an ant colony swarming over something, so I stopped to observe. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move in the grass.

Not every day I see a small fox catch and kill a groundhog. Had to wait some time to get close enough for a photoStanding up and looking to the motion about twenty metres away, I was rewarded with the opportunity to observe something rarely seen in an urban(ish) setting: A small emaciated-looking red fox hunting and killing a groundhog as it exited it’s den.

I stood there, enthralled at the (brief but noisy) battle and feeding that followed, surprised that despite the noise, and having someone watching, no one else really paid attention.

Getting a photo with my iPhone was difficult – so I used a few tricks I’ve learned over the years to slowly close the distance between me and the fox, and got the photo.

Resuming the walk, I watched the O-Train cross the bridge, and started the walk up into Vincent Massey Park, taking advantage of the first water fountain on the path (be nice if there were more, City of Ottawa folks), where I saw that construction on the public restrooms was now completed, and the Heron road bridge repairs were continuing.

Arriving at the Hog’s Back pavilion, discovered it is now a Lone Star Cantina, and that again, the water levels were very, very low.

Sun setting at the ArboretumCrossing the bridge at Hog’s Back road, I turned south onto the Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway, and contentedly walked along to the Hartwell Locks, which I crossed over and walked into the Arboretum, watching families picnic, and a mama duck and ducklings crossing the path.

Stopping briefly at the Dow’s Lake Pavilion to grab a drink from a vending machine, I continued around the lake, heading back downtown, passing people fishing, feeding ducks, and out walking or cycling.

Shortly after passing the Canal Ritz, I stopped at the pond to see what was going on and was thoroughly scolded by a chipmunk for doing so.

A bit further along, near the bridge over Patterson Creek, I watched a man on the east side of the canal in a kayak tie his kayak to a post, and carefully climbed up to the bike path, then getting his kayak out of the water, something he was clearly well practiced at.

Once north of the Pretoria bridge, I noticed a family with two children on bikes and a father who could manage one of the kids, but not both. The youngest, on a tricycle was weaving like the drunken midget he was, causing traffic mayhem.

Locked down bridgeI continued to the Corkstown bridge, discovering a slew of locks on the bridge for some reason. Most were concentrated in one area, but there were locks all over. Curious and cool. I wonder how it got started, but I’ll wager it has something to do with the nearby schools and students who were glad the school year was finally over with. Might be fun to go back, count up the various types of locks and track that over time… Or not.

Special thanks for filling me in, Dar (blog)!

Just after I crossed the bridge I had a brief conversation with some lost-looking tourists from Germany, got them straightened out and send them on their way.

Blinded by the lightOnce on the east side of the canal, walking into the setting sun, I came upon the much-talked-about “beach”, which is more of a large deck with restaurant, with a sandbox with six sunbathing chairs and some beach toys.

After a quick detour through the Rideau Centre, I headed to Sandy Hill to meet up with Tracey and walk home, after having covered 26.46KM, burning around two thousand calories and taking over 33,000 steps.

The lesson from this walk is that if you *make* the time to go for a walk and *look* at what’s happening around you, the world is a bit more amazing and full of things to see, from wildlife to slices small of people’s lives.

Even though my day was bad, the groundhog had a far, far worse day. Perspective.

2 thoughts on “Making time to look at the world”

  1. First, I listened to the entire playlist and would love to make my own, but I might not limit it to a certain period of time, but instead a quick history of the music I listened to.

    Secondly, that is pretty amazing. I can tell by your writing how much you are longing for your August camping trip. As much as you enjoy the convenience of the city, I can tell you enjoy the life and energy of nature.

    Lastly, for me, walking isn’t the kind of thing that relaxes my mind or helps me unravel a stressful day. Reading is, and it is something, since finishing the WWW series, and starting Contact, I haven’t done enough of. I am still less than fifty pages in on Contact. :$ I gotta make more time for reading…

    Perspective is everything!

  2. I will be working on a new playlist once I’m back from camping, but I’d be curious to see what your picks are.

    My long walks are a way of relaxing, getting exercise *and* reading a book. Exercise is documented to help with stress-relief as well.

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