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Bandemer Park

The sunshine called us outside today.

We woke up to a warm sun streaming through the bedroom window and falling on the blankets under which we lazily stretched before responding to the cheerful clamor coming over the receiver on the night table. It's the clamor that woke us, not the sun—a three year old's cheerful clamor that was too energetic for that hour of the morning, as it always is.

The sun surprised us. I think we'd resigned ourselves to the gray fall weather that has been inching in a bit more towards grey winter weather every day, so we hadn't been watching the forecasts and the appearance of the sun was a delightful surprise. Almost as insistent at the early morning clamor, all through our waking moments, and then through a delightful pancake breakfast, that sunshine entreated us to come out and enjoy its waning warmth one last time for the season. The little clamorer didn't object.

Jon passes by Bandemer Park every weekday morning on his way to work, and long before the clamorer was even a twinkle we'd hiked through the area together, but we've never officially visited the park before today. Fall is a great time for a hike. The heat and humidity that make mid-summer hiking less than desirable are gone, and the crunch of leaves under foot as we explore sun dappled open spaces in the depth of forest delights us every one. The bare tree branches suddenly reveal to us the cornucopia of feathered voices that is invisible to all but the ears during the green months of the year. The four footed park denizens are busier than ever as they prepare for the cold days ahead.

We spent about three hours hiking from one river crossing to the other and back again on the other side. On the west side we found Frisbee golf, Frisbee golfers, lots of joggers, glimpses of train tracks, and even one passenger train with a very friendly engineer who extended his arm out the engine window to wave to a delighted Calvin. The woods on that side was broken up by paved paths, the Frisbee golf course, and those delightfully magical sun dappled open spaces.

The east side was steeper, with old tree growth that wasn't interrupted at all. What appears to be the oldest, or at least the largest, tree in Ann Arbor graces those banks. Calvin tired of walking about half way down that side and ended up lounging in the crook of that tree. I think he was pretending that he was the engineer driving the tree as a train engine. The squirrels and birds were equally busy on both sides. I could swear, though, that the East side squirrels were fatter and more friendly; there are houses on that side where they've probably become accustomed to begging for gluttonous meals, or scoping out bird feeders from which to steal them. We're lucky we made it back to the car without being mugged for our granola.

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Reader Comments (2)

Fantastic. Just wonderful.
It is so real it makes me want to play with you guys.

November 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermom
Love that boy and the parents who are called by the November sun to play in the woods, which is very much in Jon's and Ann's blood too. We took them into nature every weekend that we possibly could. And we've all been very lucky this month (nobody left the U of M/Purdue game on Nov. 7 in the balmy 63-degree temps, though of course it was a nailbiter at 38-36). Shine on.
November 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma O

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