I hear an owl calling “who?”, outside my window tonight, for the first time since,
I don’t know, a very long time… since I was walking the floor, months ago with a sleepless toddler.
Where has he been, this owl? Did he fly south for the winter? Or has he been here all the while, as that toddler grew into a boy? Was he standing still and silent, composing his night aria, waiting for the flowering time, the moment for singing?
Does he feel now a fluttering in his chest, a new spring upon him? Did he feel the time had come? Or does he sing only to let me know that this square of land is his, his mother’s before him, and hers before that?
I hear a train too. Far off, but not so far. Some call this a lonely sound, but it does not seem so to me, more like a mother come swiftly to kiss a brow, damp with unkind dreams, and whisper, “I’m here. I’m here.”
But then, I suppose that sound has carried too many loves too far from home, the whispers changing – “You’re gone. You’re gone.”
Lonely. Yes, I hear it now.
I hear a creaking metal bed down the hall. A little one, turning in his sleep and pulling the covers more tightly around him, he cares not where the train goes or why the owl sings, but only what tomorrow brings.
And I hear prayers lifted up, my own,
“Train don’t take him too far.
Owl sing him into many springs.
Little boy, may your sleep always be so peaceful as it is this night.”