It is cold and late. I can hear the owls from my office.
I often push the knowledge that life is fragile down deep somewhere around the equally unproductive “Why are we here?” and “That saguaro and most of these trees will outlive me.”
We get an undetermined number of days in this life, and I work to be present in the doing rather than trying to figure out what happens later. It seems a waste of time to wonder where we go when we die. I’m confident we’ll find out when we get there.
But, it is so dark outside, and those owls must be high in the branches, feathers fluffed against the chill. I am tucked into my office. Everyone is asleep. Warm. Protected from the night by our home.
Are the owls safe too? Are they nestled in somewhere?
I can’t see them. Do they wonder and sometimes worry about the same things that creep around my edges? Are they watching me and comforted somehow by the dim light from my window?
I like that idea.
I’m sure it’s my ridiculous need to humanize nature, but it doesn’t matter. I want to imagine that knowing I’m here gives them perspective.
Their echoing call into the night is mystical. Unknown and familiar at the same time. Do they look for my office light? Count on it in the darkness?
The connection feels essential when I’m quiet. The owls and I are not alone.
We are not together exactly. Despite my imaginings, we are different. For one thing, if I had to be outside right now in nothing but feathers, I’d be a heck of a lot closer to answering the “What happens when we die?” question.
The owls and I are not “cut from the same cloth” as my Nannie used to say, but knowing the other is out there makes the night less dark, the chill less relentless.
It’s funny that Nan popped into my head while I’m typing this. She’s been gone a long time and probably knows all the answers by now.
I can’t see her anymore. We’re no longer the same cloth either, but she’s still helping me find my words. Maybe distance and cloth have nothing to do with connection.
It’s late. I’ll leave the rest of the night to the owls. I’m sure they’ll keep an eye on me.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Night Light.