Thursday, March 29, 2012

Antioch Park Sunset

   I took the dogs up to Antioch Park tonight, to take advantage of the incredible weather and to enjoy the blossoming trees before they give way... to the NINETY-degree temperatures coming on Monday! (What planet are we on, exactly? And just how unbearable is summer going to be, if March and April are tropical?)
charming dogwood
   A maintenance worker, still wearing all his gear, and his daughter stopped me soon after we began our walk. They recognized Shibas because they have their own red sesame at home, a 7-year-old male. They got all googly over my dogs and told me the story of how strongly their dog's drive to escape is. He jumped out of the window of a car moving at 70 mph on the highway—and survived! He blasted out one of his hips and it required intense surgery, but he got to keep his leg. And THAT is why my dogs aren't allowed to hang their heads out of my car windows.
the buds were extra intense in the late sunshine
commingling white- and redbuds
floral fireworks!
   Tons of people had the same idea, and while we made our way around and around the park, on every trail and around every lake—twice—we met many children who were delighted by the dogs. One adorable little girl shrieked, "I LOVE YOUR DOGS!" as we walkey past. Gregarious Taylor is always beloved, but even Aki was all warm and fuzzy. She approached kids and sat with them, allowing them to stroke her fur. Usually she lowers her head as the children approached her, as always, too quickly for her tastes, and with little hands overhead, which makes her recoil. She didn't tonight! Progress? Or just a good mood?
   While we stood and talked to a sweet and chatty little boy and listened to a man playing a flute and loaning his mandolin to a little girl who wanted to try. The boy told me about the dogs he used to have, a husky mix named Smokey and a chihuahua. But he said my dogs were the best. Suddenly, my eye caught something. We were right on the north side of the lake, and a cement drain was just below the embankment. It had just a trickle of water in it, but as I glanced down I saw a small creature shuffling along it. At first it looked like a tiny beaver (about the size of a small rabbit), but when I saw the tail I knew it was a muskrat. Although, I'm not certain how I knew that, as I had never seen one before.
Image source
   The boy and I watched it. It appeared wobbly and clumsy, and just before it traveled out of view, it stumbled and fell, got up and continued. Not a good sign. I stopped by the park office to report it, fearing that it might have rabies or distemper. They were closed, so I'll call tomorrow. Poor little guy. I'm afraid reporting it will be a death sentence if he's spotted again, but it would be kinder than suffering through an awful disease, and may protect other animals and people.
This appeared in the KC Star two days later!
   It was very sad, but I have to say that the sunset over the lake was enough to brighten my mood again. This path led right up to the lake, glowing like golden fire.
and the show got even better and better!