The Call of the Osprey

She felt empowered, yet light, formless yet strong.

She felt empowered, yet light, formless yet strong.

The girl liked fishing in an unlikely place. She would go out to her backyard, climb up on the old rock well that had been there for generations and sit there with her fishing pole in her little hands.

She was a special girl. She had the ability to hear and feel all the pressure, the jagged shadowy voices behind the eyes of most people she interacted with.

She could feel their dull-knifed self-inflicting inner dialogue of manipulation. It hurt her because, though nothing was expressed in words, she felt their intentions in her heart.

Since they no longer used that well for water, they covered it with two sturdy crossing beams of wood so that the girl could still fish and not fall in–because no matter what the parents did, they could not get her to stop doing this strange activity (all thanks to grandpa).

“Anytime you feel bad about anything, you get out here and wish yourself a good fish to give you the answer you need. But you have to use your imagination and sometimes you have to keep at it because the fish might not bite your bate for a long time.”

And fish she did. Since everyone around her affected her so much, that was her way of dealing with it. There were piles of problems; people fighting, computers messing up, worrying about money, bad weather, things to do, to undue–a tangled-up mess with everyone intertwined, in a hurry to go no where.

The girl, a precocious little thing, noticed her mama’s bad mood inflaming her dad’s bad mood that he reflected back to her bigger and inflated; which she then spewed onto the teacher at the PTA meeting and the teacher regurgitated back to the students the next day.

She felt how this vein of ill intention tarred everyone’s interactions with each other in a viscous dark goop of negative emotionality. The girl promised herself that she would put an end to this in her own life.

Over time she got good at waiting, sitting around, doing nothing. It was thanks to fishing that she also learned and practiced the language of nature, the call of the osprey, the warning chirps of chipmunks. It was through fishing that she learned to let go, to forget time, to be submerged in stillness and yet, at the same time, to launch desires of better things that she wanted in her life.

Then the extraordinary happened. She heard the engine and the screeching of her brother’s school bus coming to a stop. At that moment her fishing pole tugged for the first time.

She felt a wave of goosebumps up her spine and on her arms. She grabbed the fishing line firmly. There was a light glowing in the distance down in there and it felt like it was going to yank her into the well, but she anchored herself by wrapping her legs around the wooden post that flanked each side of the well.

She pulled and pulled and the light in the well got brighter. She heard bits and pieces of whispered voices coming up from deep within her darkness.

“Don’t worry, it will pass.”
“Be kind to you.”
“Follow your fun. Fun. Fun. Fun.”

The girl pulled the fishing line with all her might, feeling exhilarated–a part of her, knowing what was happening.

With one last yank she tugged so hard that she went flying backwards. Up from the well shot up what looked to be a shooting star version of herself, a precise brilliant replica, a scintillating silhouette of lights that looked just like her, which vanished as quickly as it had appeared.

The child tried to catch her breath on the grass. She looked up at the sky and saw a few clouds going by–nothing unusual.

“Dinner time!” her mom called.

The child, like a cautious cat, walked up to the well, climbed up the rock ledge and looked timidly into her void. A silent darkness.

Back home, the girl took her plate, served herself dinner and ran into her room, filled with excitement. The parents knew something was up because every time she did this, they knew something major had happened and she needed quiet time; they had no other choice but to honor this because if they didn’t, she would unleash a tornado of a tantrum.

She got under the covers; her eyes open, electrified with movement, a surge that felt like dolphins swimming in her body.

“Tomorrow I’m going to have a good day,” she said to herself and drifted off to sleep.

The next morning she woke up at 3 a.m., she searched the pantry and found green food coloring. She tiptoed to her parents bathroom and dropped all the green tablets in their toilet. At around 6 a.m. her mom screamed so loud it woke everyone up.

The girl ran to their bathroom, laughing hysterically.

“Got ya!”

The mom and dad looked at her, perplexed, then at the toilet bowl full of emerald green water. They couldn’t help but join in on her daughter’s infectious laughter.

At school, the child was focused and playful. She had the best recess game of tag in her entire life. There was a new enthusiasm in her behavior and everyone noticed.

The girl hated Mrs. Stern. After recess, she ran up to the teacher and gave her the biggest hug of her life. It made Mrs. Stern cry, an older woman who lived alone, was strict, punctual and hadn’t gotten a hug in a very long time.

When school was done the girl
hurried home. She had a plan for her dad. He came home in a bad mood, full of his practiced behavior of mental complaints of all the crap that had gone wrong that day.

The child greeted the dad at the door, extended a magic wand (a stick she found by the well) at his feet.

“Off with his shoes!”

The dad, caught off guard, couldn’t help but smile and quickly took off his shoes.

“To the couch!” she said as she pointed the wand at him with comical determination.

She had her dad put his feet up and take off his shoes and socks and pinky swear that he would sit there, no matter what, for at least 2 minutes. She took out one of her collected feathers and tickled the bottom of his feet.

Her dad was laughing hysterically. She liked her father’s booming laughter. She thought she saw a light of glee in his eyes, like the one she had briefly seen shoot up from the bottom of the well. She saw the same look in her mom and her teacher and everyone she interacted with.

The next day she climbed on the rock ledge of the well and sat there in stillness, looking down into her well of silence. She felt different. She felt empowered, yet light, formless yet strong. She didn’t need to be the victim of people’s negative attitude around her. She became her own light, what she always was.

David Hornak
All rights reserved

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