|This Parisian bike has very little to do with this post, other than being a bike. Mais, c'est jolie, non?|
A few days ago I was particularly cranky leaving work and I said to Bessie, as I turned her around and pushed her out of the warehouse, "Do your magic." And she did. It was an excellent ride on a crisp autumn evening, and I felt a million times better by the time I reached home. But even knowing that a few miles on the bike can have this happy effect on me, I still dragged myself out of the office this evening, rather discouraged because I was too late for one bus and too early for the next. But I cycled to Longfellow Creek where I paused to see what birds might be on offer. It was maddening; I could hear any number of birds but saw very few. At last, after looking through my binoculars to identify a robin and a black-capped chickadee, I tracked down an irate (is there any other kind?) Bewick's wren and then decided that I'd be on my way. But the birdsong intensified and I decided I simply must see one more bird so I pushed my bike along towards the second bridge, a hundred yards or so down the creek. I could hear one very odd, "large"-sounding bird that I was certain I'd be able to see from that second bridge. As I got near, however, I encountered a young man who told me, with a certain gleam in his eye I recognized only too well, that he'd seen an owl. He was so excited, telling me about how it turned its head and how it looked and, well, it was utterly charming. He said he'd watched it for a while and then it flew off, maybe about one hundred feet, but he'd lost it. He hoped I'd see it on my bike ride and we parted. Meanwhile, the bird that had been making the intriguing noise had fallen silent or flown away.
|Not today's barred owl, but probably a relative.|
A little time passed and I finally pointed Bessie towards the hills and wended my way home. I had to push her up part of one block which is, yes, downright dispiriting but I blame some trouble with my gears rather than entirely attributing it to my old age. But mostly I was thinking people in cars don't go by Longfellow Creek and don't stop upon noticing birdsong and spend time with their binoculars tracking down little--and not so little--birds and, very likely, don't see owls on their evening commute, let alone an owl and a hawk hashing out their territorial disputes. So it's not so bad, this bike commuting thing.