A few days later I found my way deep into swamp woods bordering a blackwater river, with dawn light seeping through cathedral woods. When the gobbler went off he was right on the edge of hearing, his breeding bellow little more than a wrinkle in the mist. I never saw the bird, but a week earlier, I wouldn’t even have heard him. I wouldn’t have sat still and quiet in the April woods, each gobble filling in the picture in my mind—somewhere out there, an old tom worked the dark cypress bottoms, bright blue head and crimson wattle shaking like a fist. I could see it all, now that I could hear him. And I thought of Wayne Bailey, of course, and that look in his gray-blue eyes.