She awakens suddenly to the whispered question, “Who?”
Heart pounding, blood coursing through constricted veins, she is already in full fight-or-flight mode as her eyes spring open to the darkness.
Who? she wonders, even as she wonders why she wonders who.
Who…Who (is here)?
Her eyes quickly scan the fall of shadows in the dark. She sees nothing out of the ordinary to explain this panic. There is no intruder lurking in the shadows. The house is silent. There are no lingering dream fragments to help her understand the question that continues to echo again and again in her auditory memory, “who?”
And now, through the open window, the question and the answer float in on the night air, “Whoo-Whoo?”
She exhales the breath she didn’t realize she was holding. Sinking back into the pillow, she smiles and imagines the owl she hears calling. He is all tidy feathers and ear tufts. With a serious, studious expression he swivels his head this way and that way to ask every ear who will listen the existential question that keeps him up at night: Whoo-whoo?
Time and space stretch and yawn as time and space tend to do at two a.m. and the prospect of sleep seems as remote as the owl’s call.
He has a little stutter, this owl friend – Whoo-whoo….(are you)? Whoo-Whoo…(am I)? Whoo-whoo…(can hear me?)
We share the same questions and we might as well think about them since we are both awake. That is the power of questions – they have a way of enlivening the mind. Besides, some questions can only be asked (and answered) alone in the dark.
And occasionally, when the timing is just right… who-who
one soul’s cry for answers
is heard by another…. who-who
and far, far away in the distance…
another voice calls out: