Monday, August 06, 2007

Our awesome urban wilderness ...

Sometimes I forget about all the wildlife that can be found in Tacoma. Sure, opossum, squirrels, raccoons and plenty of birds -- but at least for those of us who live near our fair city's number of canyons and other urban wilderness areas, have you ever really thought about the deer wandering past your bedroom window in the middle of the night to nip at the rosebuds in your neighborhood? Well, I hadn't really until now.

I live a few blocks from the Stevens Street canyon/overlook in North Tacoma, near Ruston, and I'd heard from many friends who'd gotten their rosebuds stolen in the dark of the night. Robust, about-to-bloom rosebushes suddenly looking sad and forlorn. Young apples being munched on by impressively antlered bucks and a bevy of beautiful does. I've heard them fret about ways to disuade them from nibbling all their garden's wares. I've heard about how male urine is supposed to be a good deterrant, and offered up my own 4-year-old son as an inoffensive neighborhood pee-er. No takers yet, but it seems I'll have to use him in our own yard quite soon ...

The other morning, after weeks and months of being asked, "Did they get your roses?" and being able to say, "Why, no ... whatever do you mean?" Well, it had been a long couple weeks, and I got home and noticed that one of the rose bushes had odd looking pruned parts that were NOT just above the five-leaf branch that they should be. So then I wondered if my husband had tried to be helpful, or if the kids had gotten ahold of the clippers to make a bouquet or help me in my pruning chores. And just as I was about to help "HONEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE ..." to inquire as to who was in trouble, well, then I remembered that we'd been lucky until now. The deer had finally expanded their circle to our yard, or perhaps finally came by when we had a plethora of buds (I'd really been looking forward to that explosion of 6-8 new roses at once ... grrr ...). So, well, at least my household was not in trouble.

So, while I'll have to wait another couple weeks for that particular bush to bloom, it got me realizing that there was a deer. Right outside my window. Within 10 feet. And I live in the city.

You see, I grew up on a farm. Sixty-two acres of mostly woods and a few fields and a big pond. I'm used to wildlife. But we had dogs, so the deer usually kept their nibbling to the fields. I don't think I ever considered a deer outside my window. They were always sparkling eyes in the middle of the field, or out in the orchard.

But here I am, in the city. And there's a deer outside my window. And I realized that I love being in a City that has a huge park like Point Defiance, several areas of local wilderness that are still mildly untamed. I have occasionally run across a small mini-farm-sized piece of property in some parts of East Tacoma. My former midwife, who lived in East Tacoma, had goats and chickens.

Stuff like that makes me smile. And makes me love my city. And want its green spaces to still be there when my children are old enough to wonder what happened to their rosebuds in the middle of the night. And lucky for me, and generations to come, there are many groups and organizations out there that are helping keep our green spaces green. A couple I know of:

Pierce Conservation District
Cascade Land Trust
Green Tacoma Partnership


Meredith said...

Your post made me smile as I often feel the same about urban wilderness. It may sound weird, but I am so happy for you that your roses got eaten! That's so exciting. Sometimes I wish that I didn't have a fence around my yard so that the deer could eat my apples!

kevinfreitas said...

After the recent experience I wrote about, I've been keeping track of local sightings with a custom Google map. Fun to see where the critters frequent or even what kind of paths they follow.

Let me know of any of yours and I'll toss them in!

Meredith said... wasn't even half an hour after I posted my message, that I heard my dogs going crazy outside. I peeked over the fence, and there it was. A deer. A huge deer. I couldn't believe it!

tacomachickadee said...


Jesse Star said...

Hey hey! Just stopping by to say hello.

Good to see you Sunday!