My present location is perfect for a peripatetic geriatric. Flat and fairly monotonous — as opposed to trekking Cincinnati’s Mt. Adams, the side streets and back alleys of Wilmington, and even downtown Sabina — it remains a pleasurable walk.
This January was unusually cold and sunny. Unusual, because Southwest Ohio is prone to gray drizzle and temperatures stuck at the 32-degree mark. I have been out and walking about the grounds. Four loops are pretty equivalent to two miles. Very do-able as long as the wind remains at 10-15 mph.
The wind … ah, the wind. Situated as Clinton County is, on the easternmost edge of that great plain sweeping westward to the Rockies, there is nary an elevation higher than a molehill to stop the wind.
The wind never stops. When I lived on Greenfield Road, spring winds brought sprays of dirt from adjoining fields being planted, and choking dust in the fall when the combines roared. But if the wind was just right, Robert and I would madly rake to the left of the huge maple trees out front, and the wind would carry the leaves to Washington Court House.
There are not many people out and about now. Residents, fearful of the weather and potential virus interactions, remain chair- and TV-bound. There are a few of us tromping, bundled like Nanook of the North: Fred, Tim, Carol, Don, Linda, Paul and Scilla, walk their dogs. A gentleman comes to walk his in-laws’ dog — that man is headed straight for heaven.
Peggy meanders over from Senior Living. Marty and Jenny, usually good for several laps, are in Florida (curse them!). Connie, Kaye, Butch, Penny, Barb and Denny, Wayne and Flo, and Suzanne are out. Bob walks, but periodically has to rest.
It is too cold for me to linger, so until spring, we walk separately. There is a woman who walks, but just nods a greeting. Another woman walks with her cat.
The nicest thing about the cold is that the ponds are frozen, necessitating the wretched (in my mind) Canada geese to situate elsewhere. “Two gliding geese give rise to an idyllic thought, twenty do not.”
Wayne has a diabolical dislike towards geese, shooting hard candies at them with a sling shot. He has a radio-controlled boat which he will launch after the thaw. What is lacking is a small gun turret.
To walk here on a cold sunny day is pure delight. Other than crows, and sparrows who clatteringly swoop from brush to brush, it is very still. A few times I have been fortunate to see a hawk perched on a solitary branch.
Wayne Road may bring circulating buzzards, and there are always jet trails crisscrossing overhead. Their length forecasts possible precipitation. Now, the sky remains an undiluted, primary blue.
The large oaks by the barn/dumpster area seem to be a destination habitat for squirrels — nests positioned like high-rise apartments. In the fall, that is another area I wander to collect nuts and oddities to dry for wreaths and arrangements.
There is just enough snow to break the mud-brown landscape. Because of lack of general traffic, the small mounds remain pristine. Writing this gives me a slight twinge of guilt — my Hanover, Massachusetts cousin is digging out from a 36-inch ‘nor-easter.
But hey, I grew up in New York. We, too, did snow.
Ann Kuehn resides at Ohio Living Cape May in Wilmington. She says, “I gravitated to Ohio at age 18 and never left” and moved to Sabina in 1987.