The tawny owl finally returned on a Wednesday from the conclave of high flying raptors that convenes at the pinnacle of each equinox on the top of Mt. Whitney, the highest point in California. I had been sorely missing him from many if not all of his usual perches in the Santa Cruz Mountains for thirty-two days. Who knew how much longer my standard levels of stress would be enabled to stretch in his absence? Each day, I had acutely felt his absence like the tapered point of a whirring drill bit kicking sand in my face like some ordinary bully. I was thrilled by his return beyond many normal acceptable behaviors according to many standards, and not only the quasi-comprehensive Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Behavioral Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision, (DSM-IV-TR), like duh. I became spontaneously aware, sort of, or at least more aware than non-spontaneous rigidity typically allows, of the power exercised by my controlling sphincter, but in a good way.
From what minor tidbits of information I was able to glean at our first emotionally charged reunion, the give and take of rising consciousness above 14,000 feet of mundane elevation had been too intense for any human to withstand. I won’t deny that the emotional intensity was all mine, none of his, but still. As I looked up from my lowly though familiar position in the dirt where I attempt on a somewhat regular basis to dig it while it’s happening, I could feel a new sort of dizziness swirling in the currents of the nether realms, sort of. Still, I would liked to have been a fly on that wall of granite. Or even a gnat, which as the tawny owl often reminds me, is more of a fitting skin for my size and shape and mental acuity.
I asked, “How much density in the discussion?”
The tawny owl said, “You don’t want to know.”
I asked, “What if I do?”
He said, “You can’t handle that much.”
I said, “Yeah, but…”
He said, “Yeah.”
My controlling sphincter had never at any point in his absence prevented me from altering the usual course of my behavior, not of action exactly, but close enough for me, sort of. I had vigorously hiked two miles each morning into a grove of redwood trees at the center of the Forest of Nisene Marks, a California State Park in good standing, to attend the Thee Tawny Owl Institute of High Flying and Rising Consciousness.
Mostly, it was uphill all the way. Usually, that’s the way it is, was, and will be for me. Sadly, however, I found no advanced seminar in session. But I rarely allow complicated facts of matter stop me. Not any so-called reason or reasons either. I continued to hope to no avail each morning that I would find the tawny owl leading another class in the direction of higher consciousness rising higher, and that any new topics in the spiraling consciousness of the multiverse would include my own, such as it was, is, and will be. Like, fucking duh.
Unless those were thirty-three, or perhaps even thirty-four days, give or take, in which hazy nights turned into blurry days without much if any vaunted awareness beaming in my nominal direction.
Then, I nearly lost all of my nominal total control when the tawny owl said, “We have another assignment for you.”
I said, “We?”
He said, “You don’t want to know.”
This time, I said, “I’m pretty sure I do.”
I reiterated, “Yeah, but…”
He repeated, “Yeah.”
He always has me at “Yeah.” I’m still a sucker for deep shit like that.
But first things first.
After that, because cause stubbornly induced affect, leading to one step into one space at one time, as it often did, does, and will do again, I said all I really needed to say when confronted with incontrovertible evidence, where the simple truth and nothing but the truth is more than enough to swallow, and therefore more than I ever needed, need, or will ever need to know. I said, equally simple, “I’ll do it.”
Then the tawny owl, as is his wont, flew away. And I, as is my wont, attempted to follow. It was, is, and always will be, harder for me from way below and far behind. The viscosity of the dirt in which I was mired deterred. Am I right or am I right that non-flyers have it rough when it comes to getting high. The tracks I left in the dirt were faint, meandering, all mine. It worked just about the same as I remembered, no better. Distinctions, as they did, do, and will, eluded me.
In all cultures, then and now, here and gone, given and taken, according to prime bits of that incontrovertible evidence appearing regularly on the infallibly social nutworking Internet, whether culturally savage, mulish, reverent, modern, industrious, or rapacious, most acceptable levels of so-called truth have been parceled out piecemeal, in dollops, wads, and clumps, by professional poets, priests, charlatans, lovers, rogues, lunatics, demagogues, and freaks. Heaping portions have popped up reliably in all of the same familiar places since first things started sprouting first, like stand-ins holding down the steady straight and narrow spots in another self-serving cafeteria line. The real thing is bound to come along any time now, right? Take a palatable soft ice cream cone from any one of a range of flavors, or a moist, meaty drumstick, where the prominence of a controlling sphincter is never far from a prime source of inspiration and wisdom. Yum.
You might ask, as have many who disregard much uncomfortable evidence of a slow, and comprehensive evolution with no beginning and no end, for example, in favor of a quaint and self-serving history trickling all warm and fuzzy down a pulled leg, you got something better? If not from there, where? Osmosis? Telekinesis? Communism? God? Boogie-woogie? Studies? Douche Putin?
And yet, if too much is more than enough, like fucking duh, why stay down there on your knees that hurt anyway from defying nature as an alternative to becoming free? Doesn’t any awareness, emanating from no matter how dim a bulb, thick a hide, wide a gap, add up?
From where I’m stuck, this dirt feels a lot like the same old dribbling shit that keeps pulling me down. Gravity as I know it is one mean motherfucker.
Then I heard the voice of the tawny owl saying, “It’s nothing like what you think.”
Smartly, I responded, “Yeah, but…”