We are approaching the two-year anniversary of the City Creatures blog. It’s been a fun ride. We pause this week to take a breath and scan the landscape.
Thank you to our 67 contributors … and counting … many of whom have shared multiple pieces. It’s been wonderful to watch this blog grow its audience and become a place of such insightful stories about animal encounters in cities around the world. We’ve seen stained-glass art mimic sharp natural history observation; discovered birds that weave together places while challenging our abilities to hear what messages they bear, even in death; received an invitation to walk a thousand urban miles and heard the preliminary results; roamed the neighborhood streets and ponds with children who seem able to see the uncanny beauty of the familiar; wrestled with tough questions about the heavy human hand; learned about the ethics of using our ears and the new languages that might be heard when we do; and discovered coyotes in urban parks, crows in the garden, vulning pelicans, and lovemaking voles.
In the coming weeks, among other tales about urban critters, you can look forward to pieces on the challenges of urban beekeeping, turkey vultures who hang out in cemeteries, and fugitive sea lions in Lake Michigan.
We welcome fresh, creative blog posts. If you have a piece or an idea for a piece that you think is a fit for the blog, please contact Gavin Van Horn (firstname.lastname@example.org) for guidelines.
One last observation. Over the last two years, it’s been interesting to observe the sorts of themes that have emerged among the different posts. As you can see, these themes are tabulated in the right-hand column on the blog homepage in order to make topical searches simpler. The top term so far is “Attention.”
That says a lot, I think. Our ability to care about the lives of other creatures—to understand their needs, to understand ourselves as part of an urban and bioregional ecology—begins with attention. Being on the alert, our eyes, ears, bodies, and minds attuned to the presence of others, we wake each day to a curious, confounding, complicated lifeworld that becomes simultaneously more intelligible and mysterious with each attentive step.
Thanks for sharing the journey.