23 May 2006

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.

18 May 2006

The First Seven Things I Think Of

I've been gone awhile, but I'm back around and I thought I'd write the first seven things that come to mind, just to dust off the cobwebs...

- Does it seem like there's an unusual amount of really good music out there right now?
- There may be great music, but the movies are in a bad way. That Mission Impossible 3 was pretty much a stinker. I saw it last night. Today I can't remember more than a scrap of it. So much for $20.
- In case you wondered, I'm done now (as of yesterday) with the project that I've been working on. I hardly know what to do with myself. Fortunately, there is plenty of other work to be done and I won't have to face the frightful aspect of a day with nothing to do.
- Does punctuation really matter?
- For those of you who have been keeping track: in the interim, Tina the Fat Lard, close neighbor and compadre of Zippy The Fish The Turtle, has passed on to the Heaven Reserved For Quiet and Retiring Creatures With Shells On Their Backs (which I think is where Dick Cheney will go). Contrary to popular opinion, this is not a pet shop in upstate New York. None of us are very happy with the development, but a nice funeral is planned as soon as we can come up with a small jar with a tight lid for burial purposes.
- What can I say, Tina hadn't eaten a thing since December. That kind of behavior will catch up with you sooner or later.
- Now that I can have a life again I am back to reading. This feels strange to write about. Who the hell cares what I'm reading? But here is what is next to the bed, half read, like phone lines on hold: Brendan by Frederick Buechner, The Magician's Nephew (an old friend) by C.S. Lewis, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, and I'm back to Dante, picking up again halfway through Paradise. Nice to have some time again.

So there you go. I didn't say they were going to be Seven Interesting Things or Seven Revelations For Life or even something as marginally useful as Seven Crappy Meals You Can Cook In 5 Minutes, did I?

(By the way, hot dogs count as a crappy meal. And so does Sodium Nitrate Turkey Sandwiches with Mustard.)


Have courage for the great sorrows of life
and patience for the small ones;
and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task,
go to sleep in peace.
God is awake.

- Victor Hugo, quoted in Beyond magazine