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Saturday, March 21, 2015


I go outside a lot after my work is done for the night and listen to the screech owls who have nested in a tree adjacent to my house. They are so close I can hear their baby owlets squeaking; I hear the adult ones stir in their nest and pick at their prey. They do not screech; they trill, and I listen. Last night they were absolutely silent, unusual for them, and I wondered what was going on. After a time, I heard why: a great horned owl called in his bass voice, large pauses between his calls, as they are sometimes. I used to have mating pairs in the trees, but they are a rarity now, preferring, it seems, the deep woods where they are safe, like old hermits who only emerge now and again. I thought of the screech owls huddling in their nest, safe from the predator, heard the echo of the large owl's voice, and was glad to be part of that night, and that moment.

I believe we get whatever paradise when we die, and I have two: one begins with a beloved person in a meadow with the ocean at a distance, in Santa Cruz, in lives where nothing bad has happened to either of us and never will; when I want things to change, just for a little while, I will put on a coat and mask of feathers, and wings that are silent, and glide through the forest at night, unseen, but with a voice that echoes.