I am cycling up a winding hill. Deep into the first rising turn, a crow stands pecking at some prize, cocks his head to look at me like a wise-guy at a bar.
He hops once, exuding more annoyance than fright as I approach, then he opens his glorious back, wings reaching with feathers like divine velvet armour in this late-day sun. He rises, angles high in the air in front of my bike, then slips to the grassy shoulder with no more strain than a sigh; a display of ease and finesse as if mocking my effort. Crow lifts off again and watches me continue up the grade while he swoops and twirls in the close forest, then sets down on the road ahead of me as if to say,
"See how easy this is with wings? See what I can do?"
I nod and laugh. My bike feels perfect, like it's a part of my body. I take in the sweet spring air and in this sacred moment, feel my heart fill, as if to say,
"See how thrilling it is to be alive? See how much love I have?"