Meditation: Evening Walk
The Great Horned Owls were calling, one in the tree above the house, one across the canyon, when I left to walk in the falling evening light. Their voices followed me down the hill and around the corner, until I was convinced that the owls themselves were following me. Maybe they were. Or maybe there were four or five instead of two. Or maybe they are ventriloquists, playing a hiding game. If I had been a mouse caught out of my nest, hearing those sounds, I would have been quaking with fear. As it was, I only saw one, flying by just above me on silent wings. "The owls are everywhere," I thought, "and they have so much to say."
Around the second corner, a dog muttered darkly at me from inside a screen door. I scuffed my shoe loudly on the cement to see if I could encourage him to talk, but he wouldn't.
100 feet farther along the street I passed under a hanging hedge. In the dim light, a woman I could barely see passed by walking in the other direction. She said, "Hello," and caught me by surprise. I've been home, quiet, working all day, talking only to myself. One or two phone calls to break the stillness. Strange to be spoken to so directly, so suddenly, out of the darkness.
A little further down the road, I was out of the canyon and into the quiet residential streets. The light was almost gone. There was the church. And that familiar stop sign, lit from below. It only worries me a little to remember that along this stretch of road, I was once again talking to myself, mostly nonsense, listening to the rhythms of the words, long strands of syllables, hanging together not by logic but only by music.
At the pub, they were standing clustered beneath the television, shouting at the singer on the screen. It was not a good place to stop.
I read at the coffeeshop, next to loud teenagers. I think I have been that loud at times. I apologize.
The spring is already tilting toward summer and here I am at the end of another year and I am looking around for my words.