Cottontails, Cardinals and a Cottonmouth

Cottontails, Cardinals and a Cottonmouth

IMG_4299The air was heavy with thick fog hovering over the marsh. Spider webs glowed silver in the pre-dawn light, shining with water droplets. Cottontails were foraging for breakfast and would hop away as I passed. Cycling at dawn is the best.

IMG_4286Through live oak forests, sandy pine forests and marshlands I pedaled into the day. The orange orb of fire hung momentarily over the marsh before gaining altitude in its daily climb……..actually it’s the earth moving isn’t it? (Pause to contemplate). If I think too much about the fact that the earth is spinning on its “axis” the idea of my spinning wheels and feet spinning on the pedals makes too much spinning in my brain. So…the earth seemed to pause before continuing in its rotation giving the impression that the sun had paused. (I think the sun rising is more fun).

Anyway….it was pretty awesome being there and not thinking about what was rotating where.

IMG_4302Cardinals were in abundance peeping from the shelter of small trees along the trail and darting in front of me. Their brilliant flashes of red added sparks of color to the mostly gray light of the foggy morning.

IMG_4294A juvenile cottontail hopped straight up as I pedaled past. A loud, unrestrained laugh echoed from my depths. Several small cottontails breakfasted along the trail and each one received a greeting though not a belly laugh.

The iPod was on shuffle so each change of song was a surprise. As I began the steady climb back to the main road, Prince’s song, Let’s Go Crazy, began to play. It was a great song to help me dig in and push myself as the coastal hill tried to halt my momentum. “Let’s go crazy, let’s go nuts.” Of course I was singing along and pushed replay. On the second time through, as the hill got steeper and my voice got louder….I saw a snake.

IMG_4303Feet clipped in, couldn’t tell what kind due to lack of light, going too fast to stop anyway….”LET’S GO CRAZY….LET’S GO NUTS!!” shouting as I sped by a nice-sized cottonmouth. “WOO HOO! Good MORNING!!” She stayed on her side of the trail, I stayed on mine.

As I rode with the multitudes of cottontails and cardinals, I thought of writing about the ride and wanted a third “C” to use in a blog title. No cougar, no Cat Man,* no cormorant…no “C” anything until Ms. Cottonmouth appeared. Perhaps I shall be a little more discerning in my wishes next time. The moral of the story? Be careful what you wish for….or be specific in your dreams.


IMG_4296*The legend of the Cat Man goes back to when my mother grew up on the island of Gulf Shores. A road (now part of the trail) was called Cat Man Road because of its isolation, wildness and a guy that used to sneak up on couples parking on the roadway at night to enjoy stargazing….um…well, you know.


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