This was posted a few weeks ago in the Atlantic's blog Cities:
Last week, on a Seattle winter evening, my dog and I stood at a neighborhood street corner in a spontaneous meeting with an urban coyote who, for several moments, owned my neighborhood pavement with conviction. Upon rounding a corner and coming face-to-face, the coyote cast a long stare (with those "I am not a pet" eyes I once saw in Africa), turned around, and moved on. For this feral, walkable urbanist, the city sidewalk was clearly as customary a migration route as wooded paths or the open plain.The point the blogger Charles R. Wolfe makes in the post is that cities are being transformed into their opposite, nature, by two mediums: self-domesticated humans and wild animals. Humans are deliberately returning parts of their built environment to nature, and nature in the form wild animals is more and more becoming a part of the urban. (The other day I saw a whole bald eagle in a tree above Magnolia Park.) My only problem with Wolfe's post is the distinction he makes between nature and the urban. The urban is as natural as nature, as a beaver's dam, or the soil of worms. The city is just a niche constructed by and for the human animal. The most amazing thing in the post, then, is not its insight but that a coyote was seen on the sidewalk. This is amazing because sidewalks were made with only humans in mind. Yet they also appear to afford coyotes.
As for the "eyes I once saw in Africa" comment, today I will give it a rest.