an owl and an otter

The sky glowed pink, that morning, the morning where the otter met the owl. The otter sat still, staring down into the water, perplexed by his reflection. Above, partially hidden by greenery, an owl perched on a branch. Looking down, she curiously considered what it was that the otter was doing. Water rushed passed, occasionally splashing and landing on the otter’s shiny coat, but the otter did not budge. He was frozen. So still that the owl wondered if the otter was indeed still alive.

Hei! What are you doing down there?

No reply.

Hei! Otter! What are you doing down there?

The otter turned around – he was alive – and, slowly, his eyes became wide and sincere.

I hadn’t forgotten about your question – I am just very busy, and I will need to think about what it is exactly that I am doing!

His voice was smooth, calming.

Oh.

The owl continued her inquiry into the otter, looking deep into the otter’s wide eyes, in the futile hope that therein would lay some answers.

    So you’re just sitting there? Looking at your reflection? And you don’t know what it is exactly that you are doing?

The otter blinked, deliberately, three times.

       Well, owl, do YOU know what it is that you are doing up there? Are you not simply confused about what it is that I am doing, down here, and in effect trying to find out what it is that you are doing by inquiring into what it is that I am doing?

The owl was confused, and didn’t know how to respond. She giggled, shifting her weight from one clawed foot to another.

            No, I don’t know what I am doing, otter. And I am hoping to find out what it is that you’re doing, as indeed, it may help me find out what it is that I am doing.

The otter laughed, his laugh rusty and knowing.

            Well then, owl, I am sorry to say that I am here to disappoint you. I know no more about what it is that I am doing than you knowing about what it is that you are doing. I could pretend to know what it is that I am doing, but even if I were convinced that I really knew, this too would be a facade for me not knowing.

And with that, the otter returned to looking at his reflection in the river, perplexed. And the owl returned to looking on, perplexed.

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