At this hour of the morning, the park is mainly empty except
for die-hard joggers in spandex and power walkers out with their dogs. There is evidence of recent Christmas gifts:
a man and his son in matching camouflage outfits; another man with a new camera
strapped about his neck; on the path a pretzel bag jammed with napkins and a
plastic candy cane that formerly held Hersey kisses wrapped in red and green
foil; a man with inline skates and ski poles.
At the highest point in the park, sixty-foot trees reach
gloveless fingers into the sky and try to snag billowing clouds as they bluster
past. But clouds cannot be held back by
My husband and I talk about the situation in North Korea—speculating
about various scenarios and the outcome of each.
The icy wind lashing our faces, we head down the hill, the
covered bridge ahead of us. The world
quiets and darkens and softens as we step onto the wooden floor. We can hear the stream passing twenty feet
below; we can hear our footsteps echoing into the silence. And then…
“That’s got to be an owl,” I whisper.
We gaze at the rafters, trying to find the source of the
sound. And it feels like a gift on this
day after Christmas to hear an owl gently hooting to itself: No matter how much
we manage to mess up this earth; nature seems to forgive us. Nature seems to adapt.
We get too close.
hooting stops. We continue on our way,
across the bridge and up another hill before turning around.
A group of joggers runs past us and onto the bridge. I glance at the rafters and see one word painted
on a crossbeam: BE.
We cross the bridge on quiet feet, hoping to hear the owl
But the bridge has fallen silent again.
We puff our way back up the steep hill and head for home.
Labels: Creative non-fiction, Nature, Walk