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After Dark on Sabal Palm Road

Creative nonfiction, excerpt

Published by Off Assignment

After dark on Sabal Palm Road in Florida’s Picayune Strand State Forest is when the Chuck-will’s-widows make their calls. During daylight, the birds are almost impossible to see, feathers patterned in mottled browns like bits of leaf debris. But we’ve come at night with our car windows rolled down, our faces turned to the spongy, humid air, listening for their namesake song. Chuck-will’s-widow. They’re as hidden in the dark as they are camouflaged during the day, but there’s something about being on this deserted road at night that makes me feel uncomfortably exposed.

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