Wednesday, August 8

The urban animal kingdom

In case nobody's noticed, it's a bit on the toasty and sticky side in the Midwest lately. (My sister in Arizona, who runs in the heat but not the humidity, couldn't understand what the big deal is. She finally got it when I explained that it's like running in the bathroom after you've just taken a nice long, hot shower.) Anyway, this has forced a former night owl like myself to get up at increasingly stupid times of the morning, so I can get my longer runs in without the August sun blazing down on me.

But as I'm out there at 5 or 5:15 AM blinking the sleep out of my eyes, I've noticed something: there's a lot of wildlife out here, right in the heart of the city, that I never see when I'm running at a more reasonable hour. It seems like every few hundred yards a rabbit will scamper terror-eyed out of the grass, certain that my approach means its doom. There's a neighborhood fox that's been making a regular appearance the last week or so, watching me from the edge of the sidewalk as I approach, then darting back into the shadows to watch as I go by. I've had to make detours for turtles and possums waddling across my path along the greenway, and earlier this summer I spotted an armadillo(!). Now and then I even get to see real-life drama, like a flock of tiny birds squawking and chirping and bravely dive-bombing a much larger falcon that had snagged one of their group.

By comparison, the barking dogs and occasional cat warily eyeing me on my normal runs seem positively boring. So is all of the natural splendor I never knew existed going to convert me into a year-round early morning runner? Well, let me put it this way. If I have to choose between spotting a fox or getting an extra hour of sleep, I think I know which one's usually going to win.


Blogger R said...

That sounds absolutely lovely... at least there's some reward for getting up at such an ungodly hour!

August 08, 2007 12:51 PM  
Blogger rslight said...

I guess I could say I was surrounded by "animals" while weight lifting at the gym today (chuckle).

August 08, 2007 4:36 PM  
Blogger tangerine said...

I am sure the preference will go to the animals, given how lovingly you are writing about them.

August 08, 2007 9:16 PM  
Blogger bl said...

you should come with me to busiek sometime.

i remember seeing an armadillo there last year near dusk on one august day.

August 09, 2007 5:30 PM  

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