There are opportunities in the day to see, hear, touch the wild — even in the city, even as we hustle through our chores and appointed tasks, rush from destination to destination, or monitor our flood of electronic communications. But we must be open to them — willing to stop, to look around and listen carefully — even if only for a few moments.
And while it’s immensely gratifying to witness a charismatic or rare species in action within the urban landscape… I particularly value the mundane encounters we can have with common and familiar species. Like house sparrows frisking and bathing in a sidewalk puddle, or crows chattering in my neighbors’ trees.
Children are good companions for such explorations. Yes, they can be noisy, and that’ll scare some critters away. But they’re skilled at dawdling and dinking around. They don’t care much about walking with clear direction and purpose. They like to look at stuff, and hear stories about it. They’re easily distracted. And in searching for the wild in the city, all these things can work to the wonderful advantage of harried adults who themselves could stand to slow down a bit… and just look.
– Michael Bryson, “To Apprehend the Wild, Don’t Forget the Kids,” Center for Humans & Nature (March 18, 2013)