Many years ago on a road trip flying low over the Interstate near Hayes, Kansas, we slammed into road debris form a dead semi. The van came off the ground slammed back down but my ex wife in a fit of denial yelled "We're OK! We're OK!" I'd been sleeping, she was driving. All the warning lights ever put in a mini-van proceeded to blink and ding and holler, putting an abrupt end to her fantasy. On the side of the road I looked under the van...oil was spraying everywhere, gas gushed from the tank and my cut throat sign finally made her kill the engine.
It was 3:00 AM.
The lights of the now distant Hayes glowed, but out here on the road it was wicked dark.
We'd just spent three weeks in the West seeing where I had lived in Colorado and wandering through the Yellowstone and Wind Rivers. It's impossible to see these places, hear the tales and not think that the Souix and Nez Perce, Blackfoot and Crow were on to something. The interconnectedness, the circle of life, spirits everywhere.
Standing on a dark road, feeling a bit overwhelmed I ask my Dad for help. I'm not religious but knew my Dad, who had died the Winter before, had a loving spirit.
I heard the owl before I saw him. A call that chilled me in the hot summer night. Then it flew over us. Broad winged, beautiful, even in the glow of the headlights. An omen. A spirit guide. Dad.
It wasn't ten seconds later that a car pulled up..."You folks alright?" A second car, a state trooper...whistled at the the sight of the under carriage and ushered us off to a nearby hotel, where breakfast appeared from a closed kitchen. Tramp thankful we "crept off to sleep like refugees."
Ever since then when I hear owls I think of Dad and know he is near.
On my run this evening, lots going through my mind...Home, work, Ironman Lake Placid and the Triple Ironman in October. I asked Dad to watch over me and keep me and Mary Lou safe in this tough time.
The hoot of an owl. Twice, three times, again and again. In the pines by the trail on the way home. I am followed through the trees and hear him till I turn out off the trail and onto the road.