[Tweeters] "Tree Rat's in the Fog..."

jeff gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Wed Oct 23 15:08:37 PDT 2013

After reading Rob Conway's, and Rob Sandelin's home reports on tweeters today I got sort of excited, in a vicarious kinda way. "Gosh", I thought, " them guys have pretty nice yards, sounds like! We don't got stuff like that around here!"

And indeed we don't. But we got interest! Plenty of it! The trick is being interested in what you do have where you're at, not just in what you don't have . I live in north Everett across the street from the largest medical edifice north of Seattle. Its on the urban street grid, but we got trees and stuff; a little bit goes a long way,if you're careful.

Take today for example. I awoke, for some strange reason, at 4:30 am. Walking through my dark house to the kitchen for a glass of water, I noticed movement in the trees outside the window. It was totally fogged in (still is), the fog helping disperse the ambient city light so I could see the trees better than usual from inside the dark house. The movement was a rat. "The Everett Tree Rat!" I thought excitedly.

The "Everett Tree Rat" is my name for the Black Rat, also known as the Roof Rat. Not to be confused with the "Bushytailed Tree Rat" - a disparaging name for Eastern Grey Squirrels. The common denominator between these two rodents, is that they are both european imports. However the squirrel gets sympathy and peanuts. The rat don't get any sympathy.

We have lots of rats here, for general neighborhood reasons. We got cats inside, so the rats are outside. Watching them through a thin rippled pane of old glass, I felt perfectly immune from catching a dose of Black Death, or whatever, and so enjoyed the show.

Oh sure, squirrels are great arborial climbers, but the Black Rat makes 'em look sort of clumsy. Those rats can climb down a wire, jump up a tree, run up and down the trunk and run down the smallest branches, all at full bore - really amazing. I saw several up in our tall native Dogwood trees this dark foggy morning.

The sight inspired me to songwriting (at 4:30 in the morning). How's this for a start (to the tune of ' Strangers in the Night'):

"Tree rats in the fog

exchanging glances

avoiding cats and dogs

up in the branches..."

Hey, don't ask me how I invent stuff like this. It just pops out. Maybe somebody like Richard Dawkins could come up with some lame explanation as to why, or how.

So rats have their charms as well as harms.

In and out of the house all morning, I hadn't seen a single bird at home untill now, writing this - a troop of Bushtits in the bushes just outside the window!

Jeff Gibson

urban gorilla

Everett wa

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