Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Put Down the iPhone and Listen

When I let Teddy out for his last pee of the day, I heard a conversation between two owls. I don't have any idea what they were saying, but I had to go and mess it up. I slid open the screen and stepped out onto the deck in my socks. That didn't bother these two. They kept calling back and forth. Then, I tried a couple of times to record them on my iPhone. When the light for the video camera came on, the near owl was quieter. When I accidentally played a video back, the near one stopped calling entirely. I didn't realize I shouldn't have. He had sounded like he was on the gutter over my head. He could still be standing there, silently wishing I would go away with my light and intrusive machinations.

He might have been a she. The far one might have been a young owl, a mate, a neighbor. It had been a comfortable conversation, a connection through the dark night. It was a calm call back and forth, now and then a few trills added for emphasis to the classic whooo-who-who-who-whoooooo. I wanted to hear more, but in the usual style of these times, I got caught up in which way I should hold my iCamera so the sound could best be captured, which video would be the clearest for my friends to hear. I played it back, deleting some lousy ones here and there. And then the two owls were both silent.

I should have stood on my deck in my socks in the dark night and listened to the magic. I should have put down my iPhone and felt gentle rain on my face and listened to a night conversation of another species, one that sounded much like conversations I remember between my grandparents in their porch swing in the evenings so many decades ago. I remember horses in the field across the road that came near, swished their tails, flicked their ears, and nibbled grass, as they also listened to my grandparents' voices telling quiet stories.

These owls knew better than I how to end a busy day. I should have simply listened.

Thank you for listening, jb

No comments:

Post a Comment