I remember looking around the room with young eyes. Looking at everything with young eyes. I remember what it feels like to wake up and feel the sun pouring through my bedroom windows. Content. I remember the feeling of no pressure. What being excited for the day feels like. Enjoying all the little details that made ME. Clean shelves holding found items from explorations- shotgun shells, prostate stones, old bottles. Treasure boxes filled with old motors and electrical wires. Backpacks with pocket knives and flashlights. Perfectly folded clothes in a pine dresser. Thanks Mom. Dress for an adventure. Walking out to the front yard and smelling the earth. I can hear the quiet of the world. Nature filling my ears. Truly grounded. Footsteps and my own breathing as i trek down the gravel driveway. Max the dog, a black long-haired german shepherd mix. My Wolf. I talk to him and myself a little. I’m my own best friend, I don’t feel alone. Soon my fingers will be stained with blackberry juice. My knees covered in clay. Sweat on my face. I’ll dig into the hillside to build my cave. Slide down the long ravine over granite rocks, oak leaves and wet spring grass. Drop down into the creek. Its cool in the ravine. Still. Tromp through the water, examine the different kinds of moss. Check on my damn. See if I can make it to the top of our mountain. I bury things up there. Somewhere, marked by a nondescript rock there is a box with matches, sunflower seeds, a batman car that was my dads from the ‘60’s, notes and other forgotten treasures in the ground. I reach the top and use my hands like binoculars. Over the valley chimneys from small ranch houses still puffing gray smoke from the oak burning fireplaces. The clouds are high in the sky. It’s even quieter at the top of the hill. The biggest finds of these days are rare and dangerous animals. Coyotes, rattlesnakes, bears.
I remember going out in the early afternoon in-between rains. There was a thick cloud settled all around the property. I was in the cloud. Slipping under the barbed wire to get closer to the horses. Hundreds of them all together. They lived off the land, a mix of pack horses and new wilder horses co-living on the property until it was time to be wrangled, trailered and taken across the state where they lived the second half of the year. For now they are here for me. I sat to watch them with my knees at my chest at the foot of a white oak. There are 5 or so horses visible. If I sit long enough in the grass they would forget I was there. The appaloosas would get scared quickest, but were also the first to forget about me. They seemed the wildest. They began to move around each other, rub faces, eat, buck up. Soon they were fighting. The cloud enclosed around us creating the illusion of a private theater. I planned my exit in case the beasts got too close.
I felt as though I wasn’t the only one watching. A cold sweat washed over me. I wasn’t alone. I was still as the tree I leaned against. The horses slowed as well. Soon it was very quiet. The thick rain cloud settled. Something urged me to look up in the tree in front of me. An Owl. The biggest owl i’d ever seen. Probably the biggest owl anybody had ever seen. He sat there with a dominating presence. He was on a branch just ten or so feet above the ground. How could I have missed him before? Standing well over two feet tall, its eyes looking right at me. I was starstruck. I continued to stare for what felt like forever. Afraid that if I looked away he would strike. In the time I’d sat looking at him it got dark around me. I wanted to get closer. I couldn’t get myself to move. As though he had a buffer around him pushing against everything. Forcing the world to keep its distance. He controlled his cushion. Until now he had been still, but suddenly his head twisted. I nearly jumped. It was time to go. I can’t remember the time between leaving and standing in front of the fence.
Again I duck back through the barbed wire. Running back, I hear only my breath the swishing of the brush and my dogs barking in the distance.