Hunter is one of my dearest friends. I believe him when he tells me things. It’s easy, we both like morning coffee. We both look at the stars and wonder what the hell. We both smell bad. And we both understand that we would be completely lost without a solid dose of sober melancholy. A good part of my existence is spent wondering about the lines that separate us all. What makes some folks choose to be mean while others are kind. There are so many different sorts — and they all belong to the big Mama Earth. Somehow or another, I came into being. I grew up under my folks and next to my brothers and sisters. I launched out into the world and went through school and college and jobs and relationships and landed right here, right now. And the now keeps on happening. Hell, now is happening even when I’m groveling in the past or fretting over the future! But the trip is that this collection of elements that is called “tobias” is sitting here at all.
I think it’s pretty damn cool that, in all the eons of time, out of all the possible maybes, I happened where I happened and ran into the folks I know. Don’t you ever think that? Out of all of time, you are now. You don’t have to prove it, you can just breathe and be. That’ll be plenty. In fact, if that’s all I ever did — just breathe and be — I wouldn’t have a thing to be ashamed of. Of course, I’ll muck it up a bit. T’is my nature.
Hunter and I went for a motorcycle ride in the woods on the 4th of July. I don’t really get into that holiday, “bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night…” and all. I can find better things to dwell on than bombs in the air. So yeah, we went riding. Out to the woods. And we walked up a steep trail and sat on some big ol’ stumps while the skeeters celebrated our soft skin. We talked about memories and broken bones and the doctors that set ’em. The sun set and Hunter pointed out the nightjars overhead, first one and then several. They were calling out in the evening air and Hunt asked if I had ever heard the other sound they made. I hadn’t. Then he began to describe it. As he went into detail, and as we watched the bird overhead, the nightjar stooped and tipped toward us. Just a few feet over our heads, the bird turned and the heavy growl that Hunter had been describing came off the birds wings. We both smiled huge. Hunter simply said, “like that!”
We walked, pleased that the universe tapped us on the shoulder once again and let us know of our origins. On the walk back, we continued to talk about the nightjar and it’s crepuscular relatives. I said I liked them all. That they reminded me of moths. I mentioned how much I loved the whiporwill and Hunter nodded. We reached to moto’s and built a tiny fire. Fireworks flared against the sky, weak in contrast to the heavens and the novas and the light from billions of light years away. Our conversation was that of men who are brothers in the world and who realize the fortune of friendship. There was nothing but the two of us, the dreams of our hearts, and the world we were sitting against.
Then, as if cued from some old and perfect poem, a whiporwill called out from somewhere in the dark.
Just this life,
skip the fuss.
Take a breath,
turn to dust.