At some point in each call to a customer service representative, or worse still technical assistance which is a painful oxymoron in and of itself, I pause and wonder how the conversation might go if I could reach through the ether of the phone and grab the script. Would the voice on the other end suddenly become attached to a person, ripped from its computer home? Would that person engage in pleasantries for a bit before telling me that I should go to the website where I will inevitably learn that there is nothing they can or will do for me? And why is a call to my local doctor garbled, but my computer voice in India is crisp, clear if never fully intelligible?
Arising into night the departing sun tangoes away with its cloud, memories soon forgotten. Other dancers take the stage, now a romance, now a war dance, feathers raised in prayer to unseen gods. Night will soon bring its curtain across this stage, the avian cast’s final bows taken the theatre will darken, awaiting another performance, a new script tomorrow, but for this solitary moment of frozen grace, it is we who write the conversation, our lines sung by actors who know only nature’s unrelenting song.
If you want a good conversation birds should be your first choice, wading birds at the top of the list, although you still have to be quick for if you meander they will lose interest.
Animals are to who you should turn if you need advice on getting through the omnipresent obstacles life raises to impede your smooth passage through it, but note cats tend to be pithy and easily bored.
Cows and horses in the fields have almost infinite patience, and listen when others would turn away, but note that they are easily distracted so it is best to keep a handful of hay at the ready always.
And, remember to bring your dictionaries for birds and animals will speak to you only in their own languages despite the fact that they fully understand yours, but do not deign or desire to be thought of as human.
Our cat has become a conversationalist. Her vocabulary grows larger each day. She seemingly shares her every thought with us, and admittedly we talk to and through her with some regularity as well. She does grow frustrated when we don’t immediately understand what she is saying, what she wants in a given moment. That is our assigned task, she will tell us. We ask for a cat dictionary and she scoffs. I may speak in cat, she says, but I certainly think in human, so figure it out, I am not that much smarter than you humans.
We spent one morning of our visit to Key West wandering around Hemingway’s home.
The six-toed cats seemed to realize that we were cat people, came over to us, took us aside for a petting and conversation.
He was a tough old goat, they said, or so our ancestors told itm and we cannot begin to understand why you, cat people, so obviously intelligent would pay to see the old typewriter he hated, because the S and D keys always stuck
We scratched them behind the ears, sat by the empty pool, and waited for a literary inspiration we knew was never included in the ticket.
I would like nothing more than to have a long conversation with the birds, that there is much they could tell me, much they know that I should understand but I am the interloper here, and they have lost trust in my kind.
I watch them closely, trying to discern what I can of their thoughts, but in a flash of wing, they erase my efforts, their unique version of giving me the bird, so to speak.
I speak to them, offer apologies, atone for my presence, for the others who have taken their space, and they listen, but in the end, turn away again, having, they say, heard this too many times before.
Today I paused and had a conversation with my mind, and found it remarkably enlightening. It wasn’t a terribly long talk for I quickly ran out of things to say and I would have sworn it had heard them all before and anticipated me fully. In the end though, I did have one advantage and simply got up and walked away and that caught it wholly by surprise.
I’ve always imagined that one of these nights I’d see my mother’s ghost. I would welcome the sight welcome she that bore me, not she that stepped in in a way,absolving my birth mother of her sin, while assuming adopting me would make her complete.
She hasn’t visited yet, neither has done so, but I hold out hope, it is after all the last to go, and I do hear her voice, faint and all too distant, sounding very much like my own one instant and then no more than a faint whisper in retreat.
I don’t need a long conversation, a few words would more than suffice, but some at least, a child should in advancing age hear the sound of a mother’s voice, if only to find solace in the fact that her choice to yield the child was made from love not defeat.