It’s interesting to me how a city or place can become defined, in part, by its animals. When I think of Kenya, I think of the safaris we went on, the elephants, lions, giraffes. When I think of Florida, where I grew up, I think alligators, which would find themselves in our family’s backyard often (we lived near a lake and they prowled the neighborhood for little dogs and I prowled the neighborhood for them). Uganda, Kampala at least, I will remember for its birds. Crazy, wild, haunting birds that seemed to be as numerous as the people. And Rome? Well, Rome is cats. They’re everywhere. Sometimes I stop and just look around. Tails, whiskers, claws seem to be protruding from every window, from underneath every car, sitting on top of every parked bike. There is even a ruin, Torre Argentina, that has been turned into a cat sanctuary. Julius Caesar was killed in this very spot where the cats are now being coddled. I am sure wherever his ashes lie, they’re doing some turning over of their own.
birds of uganda
and the whiskers of rome