Greenfield Manor: 1960s Tract House, Witches in the Overstory

by Tim Gilmore, 6/26/2012

Sky dark blue behind dark winter trees above between houses. The witchy call of barred owls and the owl on the branch above the creek.

Behind whatever Cristina knows, the owls will always swoop through the dark winter air. She watches them from the slope down the back yard. Important for her to know the owls are always there behind everything she knows. The owls are the other side of that boundary.

Nothing that is not strange can be beautiful, but all true things are strange. Nothing without mystery has beauty, but what is true and lies behind is strange and beautiful. All true and beautiful things have the quality of the sun shining in the rain or the moon that illuminates the owl in the winter trees.

Cristina has listened to the owls and watched them these last five years. They remind her that even if nothing reminded her, strange beautiful truth still moves through the world.

The owls know nothing of religion or television or Facebook or political campaigns, so when she sees the owls in the trees, she knows the planet is still a real place.

The owl that looks directly down at her from up in the longleaf pines works as an emissary from that depth behind the surface of the natural, bringing her that deeper sense of the natural, and these depths of the natural are the supernatural. Cristina knows the supernatural is not something other than this planet and its trees and earthworms and waters and leaves. She knows the supernatural as the deeper connection of all things natural. As long as the owls swoop and perch in the dark winter trees, the earth is a true planet. As long as the owls call out their witchy cries and inhabit the overstory when Cristina’s asleep, then the earth is the truest planet in space.

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