Wild Tallahassee: Six Months of Jeff VanderMeer’s Urban Wilderness Columns

Raccoon Mother as a baby…

You may have missed my urban/suburban wilderness columns for the Tallahassee Democrat. So here’s a list with teaser if you’re interested. Much of what I’m talking about with regard to how we interact with wildlife in urban spaces applies more generally than just to Tallahassee, so I hope it’s of interest. I also hope that if you like my rewilding posts on twitter (hashtag #VanderWild) or these columns that you’ll consider buying one of my novels from Midtown Reader. Personalized and with extra cool stuff added. Reader support allows me to continue to create a safe place for wildlife in our backyard.

Just a few of the books you can order from Midtown Reader. My latest, Hummingbird Salammander, is a fast-paced eco-thriller lauded by the NYT and Los Angeles Times, and endorsed by Emily St. John Mandel.

Adventure Begins with A Raccoon at the Door – “I knew we’d bought the right house in Tallahassee when, two years ago, a raccoon rang our doorbell at four in the morning. Granted, the doorbell glows blue at night and, for some reason, is at waist height. But, still, this seemed like something that belonged in the Guinness Book of World Records for urban wildlife.”

Possumzilla Reigns Supreme – “Consider the opossum. How could you not, this time of year in Tallahassee? In many parts of town in the winter, it’s normal for opossums to be out during the day, foraging for a little extra food. They pad along on quiet star-shaped feet, thinking unknowable opossum thoughts.”

Adorbers’ Delight: In Praise of Small Birds – Let us now praise the little birds of wild Tallahassee, who are mighty in their hearts and often embark on epic journeys to reach us. Let us in particular praise the warblers — or as I have dubbed them “adorblers,” among the most intrepid of tiny birds. The Lord loves an adorbler — and so should you. 

Shrieks, Chirps, and Hoots: Spring is Rated PG-13 – “Ah, spring! I don’t know about you, but I find spring in Tallahassee totally disgusting. Just really a lot. Such a riot of excess! Look away! Look away! Too many azaleas blooming. Too much pine pollen! Too many wrens scolding me for getting too near nests in unlikely places.”

Slither Time: Humidity Brings Out Useful Friends – “Wait. What? It’s hot and humid again already?! I’m going to write a letter to my local representative to complain. Because, somehow, I once again conveniently edited “summer” out of my Tallahassee lexicon, especially for early May. Probably because otherwise I’d be stuck in memories of pushing my way through the thick layer of tapioca pudding that is North Florida summer air. Did I mention that it’s humid?”

Embrace the Summer Dance of Fireflies and Armadillos – “Ah, June. That month of hot-itude in Tallahassee that signals the official start of summer. Whenever I think of June, I think of ying and yang, or, as they’re commonly known, armadillos and fireflies. The most ungainly and most elegant of organisms, seemingly as unrelated as broccoli and crème brulee. One is alas often disparaged and the other treasured. One is a bulky armored marvel and the other an ephemeral fleeting blink of light.”

Bonus: Coverage of our rewilding effort and an interview (subscribers only) about rewilding and my latest novel, Hummingbird Salamander.