Just before sunrise I set out to bike through a beautiful stretch of recently paved roadway. This flat surface ribbons through a cool overgrowth of swamp and marsh that until the road was paved, remained untouched.
I regularly see birds, mammals and reptiles along the shoulder-less surface. Upon approach they either fly, hop, crawl or swim away into the thick green foliage of the swamp.
Except this time. In a particular stretch where long straight-aways surrender to sweeping, graceful curves I met an owl perched on the sloping shoulder of gravel and limestone.
Our eyes locked as both were surprised by early appearances on this otherwise scarcely travelled road. The tree canopy yielded soft refreshing drops of moisture in an otherwise unseasonably chilly morning.
I approached while heeding a cautious distance as not to startle the owl. The quiet, peaceful encounter was remarkable. Almost as though we shared a mutual understanding or respect for each other’s right to exist at that singular time and place.
Drawing even with where the owl stood, I nodded and said, “Who?”
…….and that special moment was gone.