Many creatures have crossed my path while out jogging over the past few years. Dozens of chipmunks, deer, red foxes, rabbits and a handful of black rat snakes. While out running in Florida I even stepped over a dead aardvark. But today was the best. A barred owl flew just a few feet in front of me, then landed on a tree branch and stared, radiating cool wisdom. I stared back, while jogging stupidly on the spot. I haven’t seen an owl in the wild since I was 12 years old, and never from this close up.
A sparrow, likely protecting its young, tried to mob the owl, but it was dismissed with a perfunctory flap of a wing. I kept staring, but didn’t want to outstay my welcome. So I turned my back on the bird and continued running, shouting out loud, “Wow! Fuck! Wow!” Occasionally, even a 44-year-old house-dad gets to burst out through his wrinkled, weary cynicism and enjoy a moment of wide-eyed astonishment. Magnificent.