It’s 5:30 in the morning and still pitch dark at this time of year. I drive the 10-minute journey to the commuter train station where I know there’ll be a scant few “good” parking spots still to be had on the street a short walk from the train platform. I travel north on Eagle Street over the river and through my suburban community’s downtown. Along the residential street on the north side of town stand older homes beneath tall, dense, mature trees. There are bird communities here that don’t exist in my housing development just 3 miles to the southwest. As I approach a street lamp I detect motion above and ahead of me in the light it casts. What’s that? Why, it’s a Great Horned Owl! It swoops down from a tree to fly above my path and turn back up into another tree across the street.
There’s something about owls that seems magical to me. I think it was so even before I saw that first Harry Potter movie.
Metra commuters. Your attention please. The next in-bound Metra train to Chicago is now arriving in your station. For your safety, please stand behind the yellow line until the train comes to a complete stop before boarding.
I board the 6:03 a.m. express train into Chicago. The memory of the magical moment seeing the Great Horned Owl in flight lingers.