A wild morning drive shakes up the mundane

BY RANDALL RIGSBEE, News + Record Staff
Posted 6/28/19

There are few things more mundane than the daily commute to work.

So familiar is the route, my phone alerts me of my destination every morning before I know it for sure myself. My car, which is …

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A wild morning drive shakes up the mundane

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There are few things more mundane than the daily commute to work.

So familiar is the route, my phone alerts me of my destination every morning before I know it for sure myself. My car, which is every bit as smart as my phone, could probably travel the route without any help from me.

Along the way there are occasional hiccups — detours for road construction, or a wreck; plus you always need to be on the lookout for swerving texters, no matter how well you know the road — but the journey is consistent enough to be predictable. I even pass the same folks every morning, usually around the same geographical points.

I don’t dislike the predictability. It’s what gets me to and fro without hassle or incident, and allows a few quiet minutes in the morning to sort out the day’s doings before things gets fully involved. I usually enjoy a cup of coffee as I navigate the well-traveled route.

A more exciting drive — whatever that might mean — isn’t what I’m after.

But sometimes the familiar yields the unexpected, even just a little thing, to enliven the routine proceedings.

About two miles into my morning commute one day last week, one of those little moments occurred when, just as I rounded a curve, I spotted a coyote. They aren’t uncommon throughout North Carolina, and I’m aware of their presence, hearing them in the distance on any given summer evening. But I rarely see them and this sight — a beautiful wild animal crossing the road on an otherwise routine drive — thrilled me more than I probably should admit, since it makes it seem like I don’t get out much.

A few miles farther along, I was treated to another wild animal sighting, though this one less majestic — and much tinier — than the pretty coyote: a mouse.

We know chickens cross roads to get to the other side, but what drove this mouse scurrying in a southward direction across the two lanes of road in front of me, I can only speculate. Regardless, I was beginning to notice a recurring theme to the morning drive. All I needed was a wolf or an armadillo to cross in front of me to really send this less-routine morning drive into the stratosphere.

I saw neither of those things — it just wasn’t in the cards that day — but before I reached the office, still a few miles away, I witnessed more wildness, and a bit of animal drama. Just ahead of me, four or five deer crossed the highway and, looking to my right from where they’d come, I notice one timid fawn had failed to make the crossing, lingering behind, alone. I turned my attention to the left and noticed mom and dad watching, waiting for the baby to follow. As much as I wanted to witness a happy ending to the situation, my drove compelled me onward and leaving me unsure how the drama ended, though rooting strongly for the fawn.

Once at work, I parked the car, got out, and headed for the office door. But, not yet finished with this morning’s theme, a final wild thing caught my attention: a butterfly so naturally camouflaged it looked like a dried, brown leaf. It wasn’t the most beautiful butterfly I’ve seen, but it was easily the most interesting.

Being treated to such a unique set of scenery on such a routine morning drive had to bode well for the day, I decided, even if I don’t necessarily believe such things.

Getting busy and turning my mind to more meaty matters for the next few hours, I temporarily forgot about my morning’s menagerie. But as I climbed back in my car at the end of the work day to drive the morning route in reverse, it occurred to me that it had been a very good day; and whether those critters deserved it or not, I gave a generous amount of credit to the coyote, the mouse, the deer and the insect with impeccable taste in camo.


Randall Reflects


Randall Reflects


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