Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Consider the Owl

The other morning when it was still pitch dark outside, I was cooking breakfast with one eye open. It was verrrrry quiet—we live sort of out in the country, well away from traffic and other such hubbub. Suddenly, just as the eggs began to thicken, I heard the soft “hoo-hoo” of an owl. Sometimes we can hear two owls with distinctively different voices, calling to each other. But this owl was solitary; he called and called, but no one answered.

When our daughter was about three years old, a huge owl with horn-like tufts on its head wound up on the fence at my parents’ house, and we went over to see it. It kept blinking one great yellow eye at us and turned its head almost all the way around. We wondered if it was sick or injured, because it did not move. It looked angry or disapproving, in a dignified way, and wise beyond all knowing. Be assured, we didn’t get too close to it, just in case it decided it wanted us for lunch. Later, we looked up pictures of owls and determined that it was a great horned owl.

I am amazed to think that such intriguing creatures are out around our house all night, hunting, mating, eating—and we hardly ever see them in the daytime. I suppose they are too busy sleeping with one eye open and working up that righteous anger.

The owl's picture comes from this web site: http://www.bcadventure.com

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