The second growth redwood trees that grow near my house, most of which spring right out of the massive stumps of the original trees that were clear cut to rebuild San Francisco after the earthquake of 1906, are really starting to strut their stuff. I can detect a distinct swagger and a shimmy when they sway in the wind that was not there fifteen years ago. I think that may be part of a worldwide trend.
Once a redwood reaches one hundred feet in the air, the tawny owl tells me, a cool and hip enough tree can begin to get a small sensation of what it’s like to fly. “Obviously not,” he explains, “with a feeling anywhere near the magnificence that can be had with wings, but by the standards of a sprouting seed, it’s not bad.”
“Higher than you’ll ever get,” he doesn’t need to add, but does, because he can be prickly like that. Then he made a disparaging comment about the weed I’ve been burning in the new glass pipe I received as a gift from my son. But, I don’t have to listen to that. I know my limitations, approximately.
Nor am I going to get into another tedious discussion with the tawny owl about the horror of the aluminum tubes projected through the air with explosions that humans call flying. I can’t win. I don’t want to win. I never liked that flying very much anyway, and especially when I was in the throes of it, and technically, if temporarily, insane.
The tawny owl, who is non-plused most of the time, and operates on simultaneous planes that are prone to multitudinal eruptions capable of untold dislocations in time and space, admitted to me the first time he saw a smoking jet, all he could say in response was, “What the fuck?”
Most of the time when listening to the tawny owl I feel as if I’m one of the kids in the slow class. I used to think I had little in common with those kids. The tawny owl, who has an exceptional sense of humor, continues until this day to laugh his ass off when he remembers the first time he heard me maintain that.
He was on his way out, dressed to kill as usual, wearing a black suit with wide lapels and a gray snap brim fedora. There was an organic pomade on his feathers that reflected a dark, mossy glow. He was so clearly at the top of his game, ruggedly swift, handsome, sharp, and striking, that I began to appreciate on a new level how unmatched he was at the highest rung on the food chain. He stopped, though, in the tracks of his claws, and he laughed until he nearly choked. He had to sip some dew cooling in a nook of the redwood tree before taking off.
Although we have on many occasions established as a sad fact that I am no speed demon stuck here in the dirt, I still maintain that I’m not exactly stumbling around and walking backwards like a total doofus either.
I insist to the tawny owl that I am able to look ahead and see where I’m going on a reasonable basis without getting bruised too badly. I’m not claiming any more than that. I know I can’t see around dark corners and in the back of my head like the tawny owl is able, and I’m surely not trying to fool anyone, least of all the tawny owl, as if I could, and I’m sorry if it appears that way.
He reserves, however, the right to scoff with impunity. He is the one who can grab with his claws, tear with his beak, allow the game to come to him with aplomb, not me.
Understandably, the tawny owl is not big on empathy.
On the top of the food chain, there is no reason to shrink from the truth.
Do you believe it’s best to let bygones be bygones?
What happens when your bygones come back to bite you on the ass?
COMING SOON: GET IT WHILE YOU CAN