Cycling back from the station this evening after yet another cycling event (hello Glasgow!), and yet another drenching on the way in to the station, I decided to be thankful for the small mercies: like the fact that the rain had stopped, and the stars were out, and my gloves were mostly dry and my socks were only a bit damp, and that most drivers managed to dip their headlights before I’d had to go all Captain Birdseye on them, and that at least in the dark with my night vision gone I could no longer see the disintegrating half-badger that has spent the last few days being spread into ever smaller and more horrific badger parts across the road. Oh and did I mention that it had stopped raining?

And then my light caught the edge of a barn owl’s wing just ahead of me, silent as a ghost, pale and shining against the dark, right in the margins of the beam. It shadowed me for a few moments, crossing and then recrossing above me as I slowed and watched it, my bike wavering all over the road (I have never quite mastered steering without looking strictly where I’m going). I thought it might even join me on the way but then it stooped and retreated back into the darkness and was gone and I was left with nothing but the stars and half a badger for company again.

Magic. I can’t learn to like cycling in the rain, but for moments like that, I have learned to love cycling in the dark.


3 Responses to Ghosting

  1. zungg says:

    Coming home on Thursday through the cemetery just after dark an owl (not sure what kind) seemed to glance off the beam of my headlamp and flew alongside for a few seconds. They are magical, strange creatures.

  2. disgruntled says:

    They’ve got noise-cancelling feathers. There’s not much cooler than that

  3. […] you’re able to see and experience so much more than you can from inside a car – from night-time encounters with barn owls to being overtaken by sparrowhawks. But it also means you get to experience the grim reality of the […]

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