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Meditations on the Wild Animals Among Us

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To be alienated from animals is to live a life that is not quite whole, contends nature writer Tai Moses in Zooburbia. Urban and suburban residents share our environments with many types of wildlife: squirrels, birds, spiders, and increasingly lizards, deer, and coyote. Many of us crave more contact with wild creatures, and recognize the small and large ways animals enrich our lives, yet don’t notice the animals already around us.

Zooburbia reveals the reverence that can be felt in the presence of animals and shows how that reverence connects us to a deeper, better part of ourselves. A lively blend of memoir, natural history, and mindfulness practices, Zooburbia makes the case for being mindful and compassionate stewards — and students — of the wildlife with whom we coexist. With lessons on industriousness, perseverance, presence, exuberance, gratitude, aging, how to let go, and much more, Tai's vignettes share the happy fact that none of us is alone — our teachers are right in front of us. We need only go outdoors to find a rapport with the animal kingdom. Zooburbia is a magnifying lens turned to our everyday environment.

Publishers Weekly Review

May 26, 2014 – In this series of ruminative essays, Moses introduces readers to the concept of "zooburbia," the name she ascribes to the "extraordinary, unruly, half-wild realm where human and animal lives overlap." The setting is frequently the author's home, a "woodsy ravine" in Oakland she sought out after a smog-drenched childhood in Los Angeles. Moses comments on the fragility of ecosystems and notes that she swapped her vegetable garden for native plants that attract more wildlife, suggesting that readers do the same. She discusses the usefulness of all creatures, from common pests to simple goldfish to meddlesome moles. Nature's "pitiless indifference to suffering," causes occasional heartache—including a baby raccoon too ill to be saved and a doomed flightless jay—and a common theme throughout is what Moses considers our responsibility toward the animals around us as well as the helplessness that often accompanies intervention. There are also more affirming essays that concern lessons on mindfulness, such as her story of a reflective ride on an Icelandic horse. Moses captures "the human desire to form an emotional bond with other creatures" and its nuanced shades of both glory and misery.

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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Nature
  • Published: May 19, 2014
  • Publisher: Parallax Press
  • Seller: The Perseus Books Group, LLC
  • Print Length: 272 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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