Neighborhood Fauna


For the first time in a long while, I woke up cold. Sometime during the night the valley had pulled a blanket of low grey clouds over itself and settled in to a chilly gray morning. Stepping out of the house, the air smelled of burning leaves- at first, I presumed, from someone getting an early start on yard work but it later occurred to me that I might’ve been smelling a recent wildfire from the hills. 
The mocking birds: not one, but two of which had spent the night song-battling one another for territory like traveling salesmen in a karaoke bar, were finally giving way to the morning birds. The subdued calls of the mourning doves relayed a clear dialogue over my head as I walked to the bus: 

Ohee-hwoo-hwoo-hwoo” One would call.

Ohea-hoo-hoo” Another would respond in a slightly modulated key. 

This conversation continued for as long as I was in earshot. When the original speakers were too far away to be heard, a new pair took up the call. 

It’s an exciting life that I lead.

We recently found new reasons to keep an eye on our local fauna: on Saturday evening we were sitting out in the backyard around the fire pit when a flutter of movement caught our eye in the darkness: something, it seemed, was crawling up the electrical line which ran from our roof to a nearby electrical pole. Something distinctly rodent shaped. In the darkness it was difficult to estimate size to determine whether the rodent in question was a mouse or a rat, but the latter seemed likely. We consoled ourselves with the notion that at least we had seen it moving away from the house, but this was cold comfort and just got colder when we realized that it wasn’t just one rat(?), but one of many who used the electrical wires as a hamster highway between all the houses of the neighborhood. Where are all those feral neighborhood cats when you need them?!

For the time being, we’re choosing to not make this a problem until it actually becomes a problem, but it feels like rather ominous foreshadowing. I don’t hate rats, per se: they’re clever and resourceful creatures, but I don’t want them in the house either. Our cat does not seem to have mouser instincts, and would likely watch a rat eat her food in casual amusement from the comfort of her cat tower. 

Who, me?

But that’s the joy of living in a house, I guess. 

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on June 29, 2017.

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