I was trying to focus on the repercussions from a tendril of fog that was splitting into sequels and evaporating in spirals above the Dungeness crabs feeding at the edge of the Soquel Hole. The cold waters of Monterey Bay were churning like curdled cream. I could see the splashes made by otters diving for abalone in the murky kelp due west of Moss Landing. I could smell their wet fur in my California dreaming. It was a cold day, but clear, and the Sun was strutting its stuff like a real ball buster, lots of ego, lots of id.
“If you neither see the Sun come up every day,” the tawny owl intoned, “or the sun go down, how can you claim to know anything?”
I asked, “Every day? Really?”
He answered, “Well, yeah, like…duh.”
I said, “Now you’re just mocking me again.”
I said, “Not everyone can be as cool as you.”
He said, “Not anyone.”
I said, “A man can dream, can’t he?”
He said, “Don’t you know?”
The tawny owl feared nothing with wings any less expansive than those of an eagle. He would cross currents with a baldy on occasion near his Big Sur hunting lodge and he was not afraid to admit he would head home early. It only makes good sense, he would maintain. Ergo, cogito, voila.
I kept to myself the thought that it was good for him to come up shorter than at least one other high flyer. That’s what yields perspective, at least in humans. If I opened my mouth, though, I knew he would no doubt begin to tell me about somewhere far out in levels of space that I can’t picture.
“Where there is no beginning and no end,” he often said, “that’s where you want to be flying.”
The tawny owl began to smell some crazed sacrificial squid washing up on the sand near Rio Del Mar Beach and he zipped off to check on the potential of acquiring some salty niblets as an appetizer before dinner. He liked to munch on small bites before going out to hunt and party all night.
“There’s a funky band playing tonight near Saratoga. I’m going to shake my feathers from my usual spot on Mt. Loma Prieta. I have some friends coming over. We’re gonna really strut some stuff until the worms crawl. Family,too.”
That left me alone and scratching my balls in perplexity under a shedding oak tree that was being sucked off by thousands of wily oak moths. The leaves were falling like dominoes. I was starting to think of dinner, too. Maybe something with mangoes and coconuts would hit the spot. But, the tawny owl returned only a few minutes later. He was disgusted by the sight of a deranged mob of gulls squabbling over tidbits of human garbage at the beach. Temporarily, it turned his stomach and caused symptoms of faux regurgitation.
He said, “Yuck.”
I said, “I’m with you, bro’.'”
The tawny owl arched his discerning right eye. His left eye dipped like a willful jitterbugger in a hoop skirt. It was not easy for him to smile but he could laugh like nobody’s business. He often appreciated jokes that bordered on the cruel. The look in the eye was not one of approval.
Then, before he set out again for another round of exploratory swooping, he said, “What an intoxicating smell that one is. I think I may swoon.”
He took off flying northerly into the forest of Nisene Marks. He did not hear me say, “What smell?” Or perhaps he did hear me and chose not to answer. I attempted to breathe deeply according to all I knew to be true, and smell deeply, and bend at the knees, and to stretch out and reach high, and to soak it all in, whatever it was, or coming from, or could be. But I was left behind, no closer to getting anywhere deeper than usual, and with no good, satisfying conclusions of my own to hold dearly, which for me is a familiar position.
I began to think, what if? There’s no more reason for this than that, after all. And if then what, then what next?
I have often wondered what it would be like to appear in a hologram. That’s like, somehow, somewhere, between dimensions, right? I am fairly certain that it would be irresistible for me and most other humans. I’d ask Tupac if I could, and if he would deign to come down off of his throne and speak to me, but I know that’s not likely to happen, on several counts, leading to a number of inconclusive endings, and for any number of unknown reasons.
Anything other than that, we can all safely presume, would be nothing more than so much idle dreaming.
Do you believe in letting bygones be bygones?
What happens when your bygones come back to bite you on the ass?
COMING SOON: GET IT WHILE YOU CAN