The gentle snowstorm slowed my uphill walk. The wet, accumulating snow felt cool but comfortable. The whiteness was a blanket for a dark interior, a surface for the place where the owl lived high on Dryden Hill. The snow accentuated all the contours of the woods, attracting my attention to the shapes of shrubs and trees.
Ash, maple, oak, and shagbark hickory. Weeds and stone wall, brook and tracks of deer. I stopped for a tree sparrow at a thicket, for a winter wren secretive, busy in the upturned roots of a gully. There were powers in this place, and my thoughts flew as if to know them.
I thought, let me widen my senses and adapt to their calling. Let me hope that brain and heart and hill engage as one… Let me dream that the fight to save our natural environment begins right here, with the struggle to preserve the best of one’s home. Let me trouble myself, then be at peace. Our civilization. How to fix it? Who knows, but talk about an overhaul! Shout revision of goals and values– top to bottom– if anyone or anything can survive!
I’ll keep walking who knows where. I’ll call this the place where the owl lives, where the snow turns into mist. My glasses will fog and streak, my vision blur. Walking downhill, I’m absorbed by the rain and trees. My center moves. The great horned owl lifts from the canopy. The snow accentuates the contours of each bough.