One Owl Night

You came upon me from behind and recognized me by the things I’ve kept constant. The parts of me that didn’t change. I didn’t know you by the sound of your voice, but familiar words lifted from my world.

What did you expect in the come down, and does it — I wonder — look like this?

For my part, I’m still adjusting to the bracing. Aiming to gain footing pretty damn quick. Before I slip. To assist, I’ve been making an official copy of myself. One I can risk to pick its way across the brittle ground of this northwest’s bitter winter. I leave it in the mix to learn things about stories I never knew. Only knew I needed to.

Presently, we are side by side for a while. And, of course, I’m taken back to biking moments stolen from another life beside you.

Old friend, even now?

We parted ways because I had another road to go. In metaphors and reality, it always goes up. And yours is straight, easy, flat. I climbed the hill for a moment before an owl circled over head. My bicycle breaks screeched like the cry of the hunter, echoed in a decay that I wonder if you heard in your departure.

We stayed there a moment — owl and I — and watched one another. I considered the rightness of all my decisions. And the owl, stranger wild being, considered me. Threat? Hardly. A fellow being winged by the darkness of the night.

I went on, considering. Naming in my heart the things I wish I could be: cool air in this desert haze, fresh water in this poison rain, stability to the shakeable, fire to the cold and inconsolable.

I never knew it, but I am more life than death it turns out.

But you, stranger being, wouldn’t know.

Along this new road, I’ve made old friends of the stones by which I walk the path others laid out. The clearings by which a new way reveals itself. The thunder from which I count the time. The lightning, my gauge if I am right. The rain I catch to survive.

The hands I grasp when the mud is thick and I slip are those who know my falling is not harm I intend, but adverse affects of our situation.

We are all caught up together, and that is our power, not failure.

Old friends are everywhere.

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