With only three hours of sleep last night, I decided to go for a walk. I was tired and would normally crawl back in bed (ah, the joys of working from home), but nature was calling…in the sense that it was unbelievably gorgeous and begging to be photographed. Who was I to say no? And I am so glad I went. Not just because it was rejuvenating to be out in the sunshine and fresh air, but because I made a new, unexpected friend. If there’s one thing I learned while out walking today, it’s that you should never get too comfortable with how you see the world around you. Someone or something could surprise you and shake up the way you think at any time if you’re paying attention.

First of all, this van parked at Autzen Stadium cracked me up.

Then I saw some “wildlife”.

And of course, “the tree”.

Most of the time I look up to find interesting things to photograph, but today down was interesting, too. I couldn’t believe how clear the water looked.

Normally, I would head out to the North Bank path, but something caught my eye so I went in a slightly different direction.

I was loving how some of the leaves were a shiny silver, reflecting the sunlight.

Of course I couldn’t help taking lots of pictures of interesting trees…

…and flowers…

…and birds.

I made it over to the main section of Alton Baker park where there were even more flowers blooming than the last time I was there. Especially in the garden area.

As I headed back, I passed by the “triplets”. When I walked through here in winter when they had no leaves I wondered what they would look like in the spring. I think they turned out pretty great.

It was at this point that my walk got really interesting. While I was standing there taking that last photo I saw a squirrel out of the corner of my eye scampering up the tree to my left. I thought the tree was pretty so I took a photo. It was then that I realized the squirrel was watching me from one of the lower branches.

I waited a few seconds thinking for sure he would be scared off by the camera noise, but no. He stood his ground so I kept getting closer taking more and more pictures. Part of me was a little concerned that he was going to pounce on me at any second and infect me with rabies, but I couldn’t bring myself to stop. I’m posting all of the photos so you can understand just how long we were there staring at each other. Keep in mind there was at least a 10 second delay between photos and I didn’t zoom in or crop them. I was easily less than 5 feet away from him when we were closest to each other.

I looked away for a moment and noticed that the ground looked interesting there, too. I was certain that the squirrel would run away once I broke his gaze, but he was still there just watching me.

Finally, he (or she I suppose) decided to move. Possibly so I could get his other side.

By this point my heart rate had gone down and I figured I should move on. There was no telling how long we were going to stand there staring at each other so I said goodbye, let him know he was going to be famous (there wasn’t anyone else around to think I was crazy talking to a squirrel), and headed home…taking a “few” more pictures along the way. Just a few steps past the tree were two geese, one of which could’ve been a little nicer like the squirrel. It hissed at me several times as I walked by. Other than that, it was a fantastic walk and experience!

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