Ides of March

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Foster Park as it will appear in the Spring
Foster Park as it will appear in April 2016

As I recall, the line appears in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.”

“Beware the ides of March.”

It’s actually about the end of March. But I get the “Beware” part.

Walking in Foster Park this morning reminded me of these lines from the Shakespeare play, one of several I taught to high school students some years ago.

At 8 a.m. or so the sky was overcast, so uniformly grey it looked as if it could commence to pour rain any time.

It wouldn’t have mattered. If it had started to rain before I left the house, I would have just put on my waterproof pants and jacket and headed for the park.

It’s not that I’m such a hardy soul. Walking my four miles-plus every day is my habit. If there’s snow or ice, I’ll strap my spikes on my running shoes.

Dreary is dreary, whether it’s raining to beat the band or just overcast and sprinkling a few drops. You remember then that April is almost upon us. And the May flowers.

The park’s road takes you around the golf course and the clubhouse on the east side. On the west side the road is lined with trees and bushes that lead down to the St. Mary’s River.

I admit the golf course was starting to perk up with mostly warm-weather green grass. So far today, no golfers had dared to start a round. Temperatures remained in the 40s.

The chill wouldn’t have stopped Dad. He had won a few golf tournaments. He scored a 72 on his last round of 18 holes before his cancer kept him house bound.

Somehow, today’s bleak weather had me thinking about him. I found myself glancing first at the still barren trees along my route and then¬†looking at the empty putting greens, a lone flag at each one waving in the chilly breeze.

Yes, today Dad might well have been pulling into the parking lot and getting his golf clubs out of the trunk of his big blue Chevy. If he were with me on this walk, he would have named all the trees we passed.

This morning, I counted more than a dozen squirrels scampering around the trees. I assumed they had already dug up nuts they had buried before the snow fell in early winter.

Somehow, thinking about my golfer father and the bleakness of the still barren trees along my path didn’t make me sad. In fact, my daily hike never fails to perk me up. At the early hour I head for the park it’s a mostly quiet time in the city. I hear traffic pick up across the river but it’s just a friendly kind of hum.

I do confess I miss the daily jogging. It’s not only the stress fracture that developed on my heel a month ago. At 77, I know that I’m prone to trip and fall. Which would put me out of commission for some time. For long walks, not to mention jogging.

I don’t watch much TV, mostly the PBS Nightly News and Masterpiece Theater. I enjoy visiting with friends and family. Most of them live nearby. My wife and I are lucky to be connected to such nice people.

Beyond those relationships, and the true blessing they are to me, I celebrate my freedom to head out daily to the park for my walk. I did notice a cardinal this morning. One of my first this season. I bet he was enjoying the park as much as I did.

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