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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The wild city

I've become fascinated by the wildlife that manages to coexist with humans. It seems these days that everywhere I go, animals carry on their lives generally oblivious to us, or, sometimes, using our habits to their advantage.

I prefer not to write about the deer that take over my neighborhood every evening. With no four-legged predators, they have found delightful new food sources in our daylilies and hostas. At least, they leave fertilizer deposits behind as they browse our yards.

The last weekend in October, downtown Marietta squirrels seemed to be enjoying an early Trick or Treat. For some reason, several of them dashed onto decorated porches as I meandered up the street. I half-expected the householders to start giving them candy (and if any unwary people had already put candy baskets outside, I expect the rodents got their share).

Ever since Charles deLint's Someplace to be Flying, I've been more aware of corvids, the crows and their relatives. We get a fair number of jays at our feeders but few actual crows where we can see them. They prefer to hang out in the tall trees at the back of the lot, ignoring us. On the same day that revealed the porch-visiting squirrels, however, I was observed by a pair of crows who called to each other from neighboring trees as my walk took me down to the riverside walking path. At one point, a jay burst out of the tree to my right and flew across the street. What they were thinking or saying, I've no clue, but if I could read any bird minds, the corvids would be my choice.

Yesterday took me to Juli-Anna Square in downtown Parkersburg, an historic neighborhood of mansions from the oil and gas boom days. Packed with humans for nearly 150 years, Ann Street offered glimpses of squirrels (of course), sparrows, finches, and, because of the heat island effect of so much brick and concrete, perhaps the last flowers in town. Roses aren't wildlife, but it was good to see a row of them blooming in wild cerise on a November afternoon.