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The Clearing

Those big eyes watching cyclists ride by

I’m a cyclist. And because I’m a cyclist I’ve had my share of animal encounters. I’ve been chased by enough dogs to fill a pound. I’ve been stung by enough bees—not all on the same ride—to send a good-sized deer into anaphylactic shock. A squirrel once darted between my wheels; that we both survived was luck of an order I’d like more of. And then there were the crunches. There was the dull bump of the snake I ran over. I’ll never forget the hugetastic beetle tacking across the road I was unable to avoid; it gave off a crunch like I was rolling over dried leaves.