Monday, January 23, 2017

Singing owl praises

The small owl sat at the edge of the road. My friend stopped the car. I jumped out and picked up the sweet thing. We took the tiny creature back to the nature center where they informed us that an owl had been hit, and they had not sent anyone out to check on it. They would not accept responsibility. It was up to us. My tiny friend who huddled beneath my jacket was taken to the avian hospital where they said they would look after it. The owl did not make it, but I had to try.

There is no darkness darker than the dark I knew at night on the farm. A darkness that made everything invisible. All except for the sounds. The barn owl that Dad captured time and time again, and that was taken away to another woods would manage to come back to the barn loft and lament the night. Hoo hoo. Hoo hoo. This little girl was always afraid of the dark and that darn hootin' bird just made the night eerier. A lovely white-faced bird that ate rodents and made a mess in the corner of the barn. An owl that Dad despised and I knew only by the nightly sound. For a child terrified of mice, I should have been singing owl praises.

The children and I walked the path of the nature center coming upon some people looking off into the woods. Not far away was a big owl sitting on a branch. The sweet creature looked a little ragged. Knowing that they were night creatures, I wondered if it was well. We looked at it. It looked at us. Hm. Was it thinking what we were thinking? Who were these people looking at it? Didn't they have some place to go during the daylight hours?

Many things went bump in the night in that house back the lane. Mice skittered in the walls. Dogs barked at something unseen in the dark. A chicken would complain or a lamb would protest. Yet nothing was so haunting as the hoot of the owl.

Sometimes I go to sleep remembering those nights long ago. I miss the night sounds that disappeared with the rising sun. Perhaps the lonely tones of that beautiful owl reminded me of the loneliness I sometimes felt or maybe the missing of a lost pet. I cherish the day time song birds that bring each day to life. And miss the wooting that comes in the night. Hoo hoo. Hoo hoo. Yes, I remember.

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