It was one of those days. February felt like May. Or September. Buds were busting out of land locked prisons and ditty bopping like Dizzy Gillespie. Hummingbirds were hitting the liquid pipeline hard. Oh, the juices that were fermenting. There was much sucking and slurping. It made for a tingling, and a bounce, no jive.
I was squinting with my mediocre eyesight into the shards of light dripping viscously from the redwood tree near my back door. I believed if I remained still I would be able to hear more than I could see, within the larger, multi-layered panorama of cosmic dust that is, which would enable me to come up with a smaller but still important mental picture of what could be theoretically going on up high, that at times seems, oddly, to matter.
According to the tawny owl, however, my abilities in all such vital areas were permanently stunted before, and not at, birth. I admit I wasn’t surprised. Sometimes when he is talking about maintaining balance on disattached planes I feel woozy. I try to go back to the beginning but he tells me that there is none, never has been. All I can say sometimes is, what the fuck? He nods his head knowingly.
“After the fact,” he counseled, “You might as well forget all about it.”
I know that according to the tawny owl I am doomed to a terminally stunted view that derives from being stuck here on the ground, but I don’t feel too handicapped by it. At least stunted ends somewhere. I know I will never be able to fly to the worlds that have different spatial relationships than our own but I think I am learning to go with the flow.
I was fairly certain, for example, as I observed the tawny owl munching on a moist and delicate red flower from a plant that I used to believe was called Bonny Doon manzanita, but have learned since is not, that I knew what that look in his larger right eye meant. Usually, that eye doesn’t pop like that until Spring.
I said, “You look like you have a certain something on your mind.”
I did not reveal that I highly suspected the look meant he was going to be flying off very soon, along with the lovely wife, Thee Mrs., of course, to engage in some rapturous raptor ravaging.
All things considered, I think it is a look that goes well with red flowers.
He said, “One mind is not enough. Always.”
“Don’t you mean never?”
“No such bird as never.”
“That’s too hard to wrap my head around.”
“Hard in what way?”
I said, “C’mon, you know. Why not give me a break?”
He said, “Oh, in that way.”
Then he said, “I believe you.”
The tawny owl has frequently explained to me, or at least attempted to explain, the many responsibilities required of a raptor at the top of the food chain. In those instances, I would usually nod my head as if we were peers on the same page. Responsibility, I knew, was some serious shit that could be quite trying at times.
But less often, when he merely hinted at his enjoyment of several of the stunning penile advantages his positioning offered, I generally shut up, averted my eyes, and stood very still in my tracks. I did not want to say the wrong thing.
I knew, though, that it wasn’t really that complicated. How could it be? Here I am, after all. If I know anything, I know that. And isn’t it all the same process at work for all sentient creatures? And isn’t his lovely wife Thee Mrs. no less stunning that any competing conglomeration of cosmic goo? I know she’s not just another pretty face, that’s for sure.
And it was nearly Spring, or close enough. And man, you should hear her sing.
I said, “I didn’t know that you ate those red flowers.”
He said, “Everything is spoken, nothing is heard.”
I said, “That sounds familiar. Is it from the Bible?”
He said, “The Four Tops.”
I was beginning to think that the impending engorgement of carnal knowledge was going straight to the head of the tawny owl, but I sure as shit was not going to say that out loud. My mouth has no known universal cut-off valve that works reliably all of the time so it’s best to keep it locked down in the off position. Not much I say has a great deal of meaning to the tawny owl but he insists upon truth, or as close to it as I can reach. If I don’t at least make a stab at the truth I know he will abandon me abjectly. Then where will I be? And end up? On Facebook?
I said, “I am concerned there is vital meaning becoming lost in translation.”
He said, “What do you think this is, a debate?”
“I mean all the time.”
He said, “Well, yeah, like…duh.”
That’s when I knew I was likely going too far. After being stunted for so long, there must be a point of snapping. I know, for example, that both vinyl and plastic crack beneath the stress in bright sunshine.
I said, “I’m not as sure as you.”
When he rotated his neck more than 200 degrees in disgust, I knew the conversation was over. But, only for now. Later, I hoped it might be different. One common characteristic you have to ascribe to many humans, as a credit of sorts, is we don’t give up easy. We maintain slaves, pets, prisons, religions, and all out wars. We call it civilization. Some believe fervently it’s no joke. We refuse to go away even when we are told and know better. As well as when we know less. And especially when we know hardly anything at all.