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Vermont, Day 2: The Owls

Vermont Series Day 2

There was a night on my trip so still, I could hear eight different owls calling at once. They appeared to be from distances ranging over many miles to only the opposite shoreline. I listened as two, presumably mates, called back and forth for a half hour, slowly getting closer together, until they got so close to each other they erupted in a cacophony of calls and cackles. I couldn’t stop smiling for several minutes after, thinking of that joyous celebration of unity.

That night, I had “flippered” my way over a mile across a small lake in my float tube, looking for a giant Smallmouth Bass. The water was a perfect mirror the jet-black sky, and while the universe appeared immense, the brightest starts felt very close. I caught some really big fish on my fly rod that night, but ultimately it was the quiet and solitude I remember the most clearly. Late enough in the summer that the peepers and wood frogs had stopped calling, but still early enough that the bull frogs continued to thrum their deep-bass notes all night long. Beyond the incessant droning of the frogs, the calls of the owls, and the popping of my cork poppers, there wasn’t a sign of another human the entire 4 hours I fished, finishing up at about 1:00am.

Once my legs were too tired to continue propelling me around the lake anymore, I returned to a small beach and sat listening to the owls and the frogs for at least another thirty minutes. Suddenly, warm light blinked on from a camp I hadn’t noticed across the large bay I had launched from. I guess I wasn’t alone after all.

I set my camera up, and the photo you see is a result of almost an hour of trial and error, before the light turned off once again.

I drove home that night slowly, and in silence; windows down, gliding along back country roads through forests and fields. I wish I was there right now.


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