The sun had set, and a full moon hid behind clouds arranged in the cracked pattern of dry desert lakebed. With a single light to show the way, we three entered the rank maw of the Everglades, the paved miles of Shark Valley vanishing into the blackness before us. We feared alligators, but mosquitoes were the true threat. Within minutes, they lit upon our ankles with insatiable bloodlust. We pedaled faster, the cool tailwind soothing our wounds. Now and again the moon would peak through the clouds, a cell of brightness in the purple sky. Beneath it Miami glowed faintly orange in the distant east.
We rode alongside a still river. There were deadly things in there. There were things in there whose genetic makeup hadn’t changed for thousands of years. The fact that life might spring from that primordial soup seemed intuitive: it would seem the purpose of life to free oneself from such a habitat.
A swarm of red breaklights bobbed in the darkness in front of us. Behind us a constellation of white headlights framed the night. The landscape was peaceful and eerie. Despite the nearby Miccosukee Resort & Gaming, despite the strength of cellphone signal, despite the hundred-foot-tall fluorescent restaurant sign that refused to recede — it felt out “there” all the same. So still you imagined signs of movement. What was that?