03.08.21: South Fork

I’m walking through the dark with my headlamp off, the stars lighting a passage gilded with ghostly sycamore limbs; echoing with Whiskered Screech-Owls. The creek is gurgling and abundant mystery footfall precipitates thoughts of jaguars, lions. Being present is often uncomfortable; to employ a light seems too far a degree of separation between myself and the night. But then, the air turns skunky: a justifiable reason, especially given the paucity of showers, to turn on the light. Back in the parking lot and over by the outhouse–classic–is a skunk. No. Two skunks. They’re fighting. No. A pair. He’s biting her neck; they’re grunting, squeaking; a black-and-white blur of carnal motion. They roll over, completely disregarding my presence. They send dust into my headlamp beam. Moths zig and bats zag in pursuit; all around the gravel lot spider eyes reflect, watching with me.

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