Last night I took a bike ride. I haven't been riding much this summer and have only hit the trail once or twice, but yesterday, the weather was too nice to pass up. I threw the bike in the trunk and headed for my favorite path. In less than ten minutes, I was heading down the entrance drive to the path when I was greeted cautiously by three deer. I was driving very slowly so as to not disturb them and they moved only a few feet away toward the brush to let me pass. I stopped and gazed for a minute, savoring the moment. Not that seeing deer is all that unusual in the forest preserves nearby, but there was something about this encounter that offered up an image of a few kind and gentle creatures just trying to make their way in the woods, and perhaps find safe shelter for the evening. So innocent, so reassuring, so beautiful, it was impossible for me to not think that things were somehow going to be OK. I continued on to the parking lot and got my bike out of the trunk. It was dusk now, and I was losing daylight fast. I pedaled quickly down the familiar trail, building up to a good pace. Further on down the path band just around a bend in the river, I spotted a Great White Heron. I had to pull over and check him out. Even though he was just sitting there in a quiet marsh with little activity, it was still amazing to see such an inspiring example of nature so close to home. Crossing a wide meadow on the last leg of my ride, the sun was as big and low in the sky as I have ever remembered it, a burnt orange globe glowing strongly as it set over the treetops. Hope: Still available in limited quantities.