The ground betrays its life when it rains.
The ground betrays its life when it rains. Charles Mudede

In one of the greatest tunes of the 1980s, Kate Bush sang: "Every time it rains, you're here in my head." The crows and seagulls of South Seattle's Genesee Park sang a different tune not too long ago. It goes like this: "Every time it rains, you're here in my mouth."

Bush's song is about about her "daddy"; the bird song is about the juicy insects exposed by a soggy ground. One of the snacks to be found there is the larvae of the "nonnative scarab beetle." It's hard on grass but rich in protein.

Support The Stranger

The Seattle Times' Sandi Doughton writes:

The larvae damage grass by feeding on the roots. But it’s the crows and other creatures — including raccoons and skunks — that have caught people’s attention this season as the animals strip-mine yards and medians and parks in pursuit of tasty snacks.

Speaking of raccoons, you will find a big dead one today near MC Foods on Beacon Hill. It's on the north side of the street. It's been there for days. And just because it's dead doesn't mean it's going to go away. The crows and other hungry synanthropic animals can only do so much. Also, it died in the two-year-old bicycle lane, so it can't be squashed out of human vision by the unforgiving rubber wheels of our automobile civilization.

Speaking of invasive species: Have you heard of the cocaine hippos of South America? Colombia has a hippo infestation because they escaped into the wild from a zoo owned by the god of drug dealers, Pablo Escobar.


This story returned to my mind when, yesterday, when I reached Hitt's Hill Park during a twilight walk. There are two animals that haunt my dreams like nothing else: the hippo and the lion. But for some reason, in the real world, I can always imagine the nature of space protecting me from hippos. The same can be said of tigers. I feel confident that space between that predator (wherever it is in the world) and me (in Seattle) will never be breached. But not the lion. This big cat is all in my reality in the way the tiger is in the poems of the great 20th century Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. Even here, just north of downtown Columbia City, by the small road that rises to the park, I always feel, always fear, when looking toward the towers of downtown, that a lion will walk just on up and see me and make meat of me.

Lastly, please, whoever you are, do not remove this strip of garbage that's on the sidewalk behind the Ezell's Famous Chicken, cornered by Rainier Ave South and S Genesee Street.
A Pacific Northwest snake?
A Pacific Northwest snake? Charles Mudede

Keep it there, because it always catches me by surprise during the start of my eastbound walks. Upon seeing it, I never fail to think it's a real snake. And then I see it's just some garbage. But then I think of how I never see snakes in Seattle. And from here, I'm reminded of the snakes of my teen years in Harare, Zimbabwe. They looked just like this: small, dark (or silvery). The snakes I like and miss refuse to become an invasive species of the Pacific Northwest.