Sunday, July 13, 2008

An Elixir of Vitality


My favorite places are way back in the icky, mucky thick of things. This is where I come alive, where I am most content. At twilight on the water, life emerges.

As the moon reverberates against the last blue-gray light of the clouds, fireflies dance – small strobe lights in a forest disco. A symphony of amphibians – bull frogs, peepers – sings in stereo as turtles “kerplunk” into the water, startled by the slow stroke of my paddle. Fish jump. What I think to be a large mouth bass comes right near the boat, its pursed lips sucking up an insect on the surface. Whitetail deer move slowly through the trees, their long legs graceful and poised. A brown bat darts through the night sky; dandelion spores float by. A blue heron calls its cackling “creak, creak.”

Suddenly, from the chorus, I hear the distinctive call of a lone barred owl. I row silently toward it, calling back, but am met with silence – only the stillness of the water and tiny ripples from my paddle.

Time passes.

Then the guttural “who cooks for you, who cooks for you all” call comes back to me. I call back.

I paddle and time passes.

Then, without a sound, the call is right above me in the trees, just the “you all” part of the call. And with that, I am connected. We call back and forth steadily for ten minutes before two more Barred owls call from the distance. Before long, I am surrounded by their calls, in the trees to the left and to the right. I sit in the middle in my kayak listening, connected.

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