Picture it: It's a typical day in wage slave hell. I'm on the phone with a cranky client. We need a document that is, naturally, out in the client's car. And I'm going to have to hang on, wasting time -- time, mind you, that will cost me when performance reviews are done -- while this guy hikes all the way out to the end of his driveway to get papers he should have had in hand before he called me. Oh, even better: He has a mobile phone, so I get to go along for the hike. Can't even do something else while I wait.
I hear his chair creak as he rises. I count the stairs down to the first floor: thump, thump, thump... a door opens, a screen door slams. Crunching gravel. Heavy breathing. Gravel. Gravel. How long is this goddamn driveway, anyhow? I stifle a sigh and tap my fingers. I close my eyes and try to pinpoint the critical error, the "Duh" decision, the unmarked exit on the road of life that led me here to Cubeville. And then, a miracle.
Somewhere out there above that long gravel driveway in Texas, beyond the grey sameness of the Indiana winter, a bird begins to sing. One bird, singing all alone, fills the world with joy, ephemeral beauty, and pure, ancient power. It sings as if calling life itself back to the barren earth. It sings as if life has no choice but to obey.
The client finds the document, reads off names, numbers, financial flotsam. He worries and frets and questions, oblivious. Behind it all, the shaman flute plays on, pouring magic into the southern sky.
Finally, the man asks, "Is that it? Do you need anything else?"
Head bowed, eyes closed, I smile. "Yes, that's it. I have everything I need now, Sir. Thanks for calling."