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As we move out of rural areas and into cities, as we fill ourselves with Animal Planet and PBS nature documentaries, a funny thing begins to happen: We forget that some of those majestic creatures we've been encountering through screens all our lives can kill us. Rilla Askew offers a simple reminder: Watch where you step.

Rilla was born in the Sans Bois mountains of Oklahoma. A writer of fiction and nonfiction, whose stories are often set in the harsh landscape of that state, she doesn’t think of herself as a “regional writer.” Rather, she says, “America is [her] subject, Oklahoma the canvas.” This essay comes from her 2017 collection, Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place. She’s also the author of several novels, most recently, Kind of Kin. Find her at RillaAskew.com.

Special thanks to Ralph Beliveau at the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at Oklahoma State University for recording Rilla. Music in this episode comes from US Army Blues, Ralph Font and His Rumba Music, Kai Engel, Jahzzar, and Cullah.

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Do you have an animal-related story? A story about a time you were reminded of your own or other people’s animal-ness? Or maybe a story you’re not sure has anything to do with animals at all but still feels kinda, sorta relevant to things we do with this show? Tell us about it at (571) 446-0341 or record a voice memo on your phone and email it to Eric@BestiaryPod.org.