Sometimes we reach for things, even though we know there is nothing there, maybe especially because there is nothing there—it’s an insane hope. -Intellectual Shaman
I don’t know if everyone thinks this way, well… I guess I know they don’t, but I think there must be some who do. I asked the counselor at my school how she measured time, and she said she didn’t. She didn’t know what I was talking about. Recently, I lost my ruler, and when that happens, it can be difficult to measure things. There is no ruler, there is nothing, and this is difficult to fathom, but if you are lucky, there is something worth doing despite logic failing for any reason to do it. I was looking for greatness and I still am.
That’s why I decided to rent a cabin in the mountains. There would be no internet connection, just the wind and snow and god to connect with. I was hoping that everything in my life would make sense, and I was willing to do anything for that. You always hear of the man who goes crazy alone, and people usually dismiss him, as the man who goes crazy alone. He got that way, perhaps… because he had a drug habit or some mental disorder.
My parents were always discussing the need to connect to god, that I hadn’t tried hard enough. Well, now I was putting god to the test. I was putting myself to the test. And I was hoping that my two-week vacation would be more than silence and a return to noise. My pickup truck had difficulty climbing the mountain. It was full of supplies, including toilet paper, lots of toilet paper. And for some reason, that was a big concern—not losing my way or getting stuck someplace where people didn’t go, but not being able to wipe my own ass.
When I got to the cabin, I got into the bunk and just rested there. I lay like that for 30 minutes. I thought that would be enough time, but I didn’t want to move, so I waited another 30 minutes just listening to the wind. I wouldn’t call my state, a state of depression, more like immobility caused by a realization that any realization wouldn’t matter.
And that’s when I heard it… a far-off bird call. It sounded happy. It was far off and worth getting out of bed for. I opened the cabin door and looked out, into the pink sky where the silhouette of an enormous bird swooped across the sunset.
I couldn’t go back to sleep. It was turning dark and I felt the need to stretch my legs. So, I went for a walk. There was a trail that looped the mountain, and as I went down, the trees got taller, so that I noticed how still they were and how old. They would probably be alive when I was dead and they wouldn’t have many visitors. It must get lonely for them up here, just standing there, year after year. But then I noticed something, something I didn’t expect. Were those coconuts in a pine tree? I pushed the trunk to see if I could knock one lose and sure enough, one fell. I didn’t want it to break, so I caught it in my coat, and rather than it being a coconut, it was an egg, shining like a pearl. I brought it back to the cabin and put it in one of the warm bunk beds. Then I took the other and went to sleep. The next morning, I awoke to knocking. Maybe the park ranger, I thought.
When I opened the door, I was greeted by a sharp beak. “Kaaw…Kaaw…Kookaaw.”
“Oh my God!” I screamed. Then it dawned on me— it must want its egg back, so I wrapped it in a blanket and brought it out. The bird gave me a reproachful look and gathered it in its mouth. I sighed as I watch the bird ascend and I closed the cabin door and got back into bed. A little while later, I heard knocking again.
It was the park ranger. “I just wanted to see that you were situated right. We’ve had some poachers in the area, so keep your eyes out.”
“Are they dangerous?”
“Only if you’re an endangered bird.”
“It’s kinda like a tetradactyl. Some hiker got a polaroid of it ten years ago, and we’ve had trophy hunters up here ever since. Just make sure you stay out of their way.”
“Oh, I will,” I said. “I’m trying to write.”
“What do you write?”
“I don’t know… I don’t know if I can even do it.”
The park ranger gave me a funny look. “You will. It’s written across your face. If it were in ink, it wouldn’t be any clearer.” With that, he got into his pickup truck and left and I sat down to my typewriter, but no words came out. I decided to go for another walk and as I got close to the tree with the eggs in it, a shadow flew above me and landed on the path.
It was the magnificent bird with red and green coloring, a long slender neck and golden eyes. And rather than backing up, I reached out my hand and its head bobbed closer until I was petting its feathers. It wrapped its neck around my arm and made a vibrating noise like it was purring. Then it shifted its feet close to my body, like it wanted me to climb on its back, and almost as if in a dream, I did. Then we left the laws of gravity behind and I never saw the sky that way, like a bird. I discovered what mattered, even though, perhaps, nothing mattered. We were instantly close. We were instantly friends. We were in free-fall together, until we pulled out of that dive and we touched the sky.