The sky is gray now but I can see the pink and blue of sunrise in the east. It is 6:30 and I am walking Thor up the hill of a dark street in upstate New York. There are no street lights here and only a crescent moon so I am walking in the middle of the road. Thor is busy sniffing and peeing in the roadside bushes tethered to me by a fifteen foot leash. The crisp silence of this late autumn morning is disturbed by a sudden wind that jostles the bare tree branches. I look up at the brightening sky.
That’s no bird on the top branch of one of the tallest trees. It’s a leaf—maybe the last one on that tree—clinging even as the wind lifts it skyward then drops it down. My attention is pulled away from this sight by the clack, clack, clack of a very long train judging from the time it takes for the sound of metal on metal and the intermittent cry of the horn to cease. I walk only a few feet before I here two quick shots—bangbang—reverberate through the air. Is it hunting season?
I am suddenly chilly. I rush the dog back home and into the warm kitchen.