The forest was dark when Dog and I began our morning walk today. The night sky was already starting to pale, but the trees still held the darkness close under the canopy of leaves. Today, the first sound I heard was not the sweet summer call of the pewee, the forest’s earliest riser. It was the hoot of a great horned owl, the night hunter.
The owl was a short distance up the mountain from us, its hoots loud enough to resonate. What better sign could there be that the days are already shortening? Instead of the morning bird calls I’ve been accustomed to for the past several months, today the night caller was still reigning the woods.
Dog and I hadn’t gotten far before the pewee began to sing, and for a few minutes I heard both the last call of night’s creature and the first call of morning’s. The owl would hoot, and it seemed the pewee answered, the two calling back and forth with perfect timing. For a few minutes the two shared the forest, in that hazy time when both night and dawn appear to be the same. And then it was truly dawn, and the owl retreated, while the pewee continued its song, this time a solo.