In order to log more than a thousand steps a day, and to keep the cabin fever at bay, I take a “daily constitutional,” as it were, a neighborhood stroll to stretch my legs, at least twenty minutes of brisk activity to shake things up. I used to go after work, but as we’ve come closer to the solstice, it’s become a lunchtime routine.
If I go one way, it’s Military Park with a stop at Starbucks, in the other direction it’s this lovely new public-private partnership park, Mulberry Commons. Today I wanted to see the new-fallen snow on the commons. Fortunately, the parks guys I pass most days on my stroll had cleared at least a narrow trail on all the paths I usually traverse in a series of lopsided figure-eights to get my step count up. Still, it wasn’t as much movement as I’m used to, so I extended my route down to the far end of the block, and returned across the street in front of the Prudential Center.
I’m strolling along, listening to a podcast, minding my own business, when suddenly a bird explodes up from the snow at the foot of the building, crossing less than two feet in front of my shins. He banked sharply upward, alighting on the top of a lamppost, and paused for a moment for my camera.
I think he’s an American kestrel, an endangered species in New Jersey.