Last January I walked alone in a preserve, enjoying the brittle cold, the silence of fresh snow. Cedar Creek flowed beside me, black, swift and clear beneath a fragile film of ice shelves.

And then—fur and bright eyes. Two river otters poked their heads over ice on the creek’s far bank. We three held still, perfectly quiet, watching each other for a long time. It must have been ten minutes. I think they were as astonished as I. My feet grew numb. Reluctantly, I was the first to turn away. While I had never seen them before and have never seen them since, I was there, and so were they.

– Carol Roberts, Quarterly editor