Winter's Pitch

The Otherworld Calls

Night has thrown its pall, yet the snowy fields glow from distant reflections; A memory of the day’s toil.

I step outside; a great horned owl’s throaty hoot greets me. Otherwise, the snow remains a silent witness to my heavy booted steps.

In this once field now meadow, I’m never alone. Always a field mice or rabbit burrowed nearby; Even a thirteen stripe ground squirrel or three have made their home here. And these two dogs, may they ever be nearby, dance in this darkened disco. Hoping to find a partner that suits their taste.

I stop to listen; my canvas hood, a snare drum, reverberates as icy snow percusses and sticks. I draw back my hood and listen for the rest of this score.

On these late winter nights, silence settles amongst the trees. This is their time to whisper secrets. A gentle breeze lifts their voice. I almost hear them, but my ears are not once what they were.

To catch the silence, I step closer to the extending arms of a copse of white pines; each dressed in winter’s finest. Closer still. It’s thin dark needles hold their negation, deepening the recesses of its knotted trunk.

My heart quickens; Here is the veil. That portal to step beyond. The pale meadow behind or the deep promise of the forest realm?

Once more the great horned owl matches the pitch; a dark sticky promise of something more than wakeless morning work.

I feel a growing warmth. This is my way. I step once, my foot fall breaks the silence. And once more as my companions, with dance complete, bound close.

They know that where I go, they’ll go as well. I halt my third step; this is the one that seals it all.

The great horned owl again calls out. Not inviting but proclaiming that this is their night and their place. Not mine.

I want to pierce the darkness, but where once I was warm, I feel winter’s anesthetic sting.

“Home,” I say and we return to a place that also is not ours. Tomorrow will come and greet us with the drudge.