Saturday L: Secret Meeting of the Owls • 19 April 2008

I can’t tell you about the “secret meeting of the owls.” I know you are coming here to find out—one google search after another—but I have no information for you.

“The owls are not what they seem.” “The owls won’t see us in here.” Two other searches that bring them in. If that’s you, a tip before you leave: those lines are from Twin Peaks—uttered if I remember by the Log Lady. Owls in that story are otherworldly… harbingers of the secret world where the real shit happens.

I didn’t even like owls when I named this blog but I was looking for a vowely neologistic compound in three syllables. It needed to be suggestively anagrammic and refer to some kind of mascot, so this is what we got.

Unintentionally and despite this year’s surge of hipster-associated owl imagery, I’m suddenly sort of falling for the little creatures. Maybe it’s being the mistaken target of the funny google searches.

Or maybe it’s the secret meetings.

Anyway but listen. My dad’s little brother is sick. Heartbreaking and tense: we’re waiting to find out about a heart transplant. My dad—who picked up a couple of night shifts as hospital chaplain because apparently his day job wasn’t tragic enough—can do emergency grace and sad equanimity like a fucking saint. Catastrophe brings him closer to god, so he runs to it. But not with his tribe: when we’re hurt he’s more voodoo twin than chaplain. I don’t understand it but what it means is that the heartbreak doubles. I tell him and the others I am praying because it’s the only way to express what I mean. I used to refuse to say that because I considered it an insulting lie, since I don’t share their fantasies about salvation and a higher being who takes sides or does you favors. But what other language lets them know I am still part of the clan in spirit, and that I care for my own? I have to respect their god to stay in the circle: anything else is splitting hairs at a really bad time. Anything else makes it about me. Why not find a way to say the old words and mean them sincerely?

I take this all up to Ojai the next two days, to RE’s mountain estate. I love these friends and their land, and also the beautiful sun-drenched yoga studio out in the guest house surrounded by prickly pear and pinyon pine. I understand you ashtangis have a belief that it is wrong to practice the asana sequences on the full moon: I will find some way to honor that belief, even in secret.