Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

Why Won’t You Listen

Published in Strays.

Edwin Warner Park Stencil

It was a familiar path until instead of veering left we veered right. Had we not made one more left where I thought there should have been a right we would have never discovered the message. The doors of a restroom, padlocked shut for the season, were adorned with decoration. “Why won’t you listen,” read one door. Good question. We continued on our way until she stopped and asked me a question.

Of course I wanted to see the quarry. As we walked up the slope, the hum became louder and louder until we stood level with the wall of rock in front of us. It was a quarry, alright, but the sound was more incredible than anything. It was frogs, everywhere, chirping. They were invisible to us, lurking in the marshland, and as we each walked in separate directions, each moving closer and closer to the chirps, those chirps stopped chirping, until there was only one chirp remaining. Watching her step closer to it, that final chirp silenced itself, and now the invisible frogs had all gone quiet. When they did we made eye contact and smiled.

Later, having returned to the path, she told me to look up, to look at a tree. It was amazing. The bark was stripping from the bottom of its thick limbs, while the tops of those same branches were covered in vibrant green moss. As we continued on, I tried to tell her that I appreciated her awareness, but it came out weird. I’m sure she doesn’t remember that. We both needed the other person to be on that trail today.