A branch-and-leaf structure recently appeared in Riverside Park.
A closer look reveals a solid low doorway from which the proprietor – or a shaggy interloper – can keep an eye on the grounds.
Built with fallen branches and leaves by an unknown architect, the above ground tunnel looks something like a sleeping animal covered with leaves.
Tall branches leaning against a tree make for a taller space.
The walls are tightly woven, like the brambles of the 100-year forest that sealed Sleeping Beauty from the world.
And leaves are thickly strewn.
The structure both hides and reveals.
And speaking of tunnels as well as of hiding and revealing, my friend Charlotte of The Rat’s Nest blog recently observed a gopher near her house in Los Angeles. She videotaped the little rodent with her iPhone as it repeatedly popped its head out of its hole, looking rather like a large thumb, then disappeared. Charlotte reports that she could actually hear the gopher tunneling in the earth.
The rodent holes I see in and around Riverside Park are not gopher tunnels. These, my friends, are rat holes, and as swiftly as the Parks Department fills them in, the rats dig them out.
This particular spot, most recently filled in after Hurricane Sandy, sometimes becomes a huge gaping sinkhole leading in and out of the mysterious tunnels where rats live much of their lives, sheltered from predators. Intriguing, but…
I think I’ll stay above ground.
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For more on man-made structures in Riverside Park: