"I am Brother Eli the Elder," the first owl spoke in a voice that seemed far too human, far too large. He hopped closer, once, twice, thrice, before continuing. "We are here because you have journeyed to your fullness of time."
"My fullness of time?"
"Yes, young one, all things have their time in the weaving of eternity. Our lifetimes are the threads, God's soul is the loom, the cloth created is the memory of our hope. The time has come for your time in the hands of the Weaver. You were brought to life as a divine dream, not that dream must now become flesh and bones, moments of experience and traces of existence, translations of what might be into what was."
The owls words were too much for me ... and the Grey Owl knew this to be so for he have his words the time for them to pass through the layers of mind until they slowly settled into the depth of my soul.
Blue-Eyes cocked his head, perking his ears, as if waiting for me to take my turn at speaking words. Then he took a few moments to give a vigorous scratching to an itch behind his ear.
From the front row of the owls, another owl hopped up beside the first. As expected, he too introduced himself to me. "I am Brother Timothy, the Keeper of the Scrolls. Your time has come as it has for all those willing to explore beyond the Frozen River. Your Grandfather has come to his Oak Tree Time and he has chosen you to be his Echo."
"I do not understand ... at all."
Eli the Elder rejoined the conversation, "You do not need to understand ... simply to know. People fail to appreciate that knowing always comes before understanding - they believe it is the reverse, but it is not."
Then in solemn harmony, all the owls answering in hushed voices, "It is so, it is so."
And while the Padre leaned against a nearby pine, passing the hours in meditative pipe smoking and an intermittent exploration of the winter clouds; and while Blue-Eyes settled into a half-sleep with his chin resting upon his paws, with only an occasional one-eye check as to my progress through it all, the owls in their order came before me, to share their part in some ancient liturgy of questions and answers that have been asked and given in one form or another since the dawn of our awareness that our mortal existence is somehow caught up in eternal time.
The day passed but with hours that somehow wandered about in a far different time, as if we had strayed into another place, that place that exists between the tick and the tock of a pendulum clock that has forgotten which way to go.
In the end, Brother Eli the Elder bowed a priestly bow and all the owls of the order followed. And up they flew, silently, not to the branches of the pines but to the realm beyond my sight. They simply flew away with Blue-Eyes watching them go.
After the silence came the wind again, whistling through the pines, like wind tickling through muffled chimes. After that, the Padre spoke in steady, sure-footed tones, "Brother Sandy, it is time for us to head home."