9.14.2007,7:40 AM
Wild things

Outside my bedroom window was a duet of great horned owls. Their calls back and forth to each other were a lullaby gently waking me from sleep shortly after four this morning. One of the pair was close enough to my window I could hear its wings flutter. The other answered from the woods nearby.

Sliding my legs over the edge of the bed I softly walked to the window and heard the throaty hooting close enough that I wondered if it were perched on the roof or the grill outside the back door. By the time I lightly traversed the space between my bed and the back screen door, I saw the silhouette of the echoing owl land atop the utility pole about 150 feet from me. Against the barely lit sky, the owl fluttered its massive wings and settled on its perch to 'talk' to the owl nearest me. The deep throaty hoots of my feathered neighbor were answered with higher pitched hoots. I wondered if the perched owl atop the pole was a female, the mate to the obvious male nearly over my head.

I've seen one or both of this pair before in various places on my five acres. The first time was driving home one night and turning onto the private gravel road. Sometimes I shut my headlights off and let the parking lights light my way as I slowly drive to the house. To the right and front of the truck a massive pair of wings unfolded from a fence post and lifted a long thick body in front of me and up into the air. Without thinking, the words fell out of my mouth "Whoah! A dragon!", followed by a muffled giggle mixed with awe. Since then I've been told that owls with wingspans greater than five feet have been spotted in this area.

One evening after the sun had disappeared past the horizon I spotted the familiar silhouette of the same or similar owl atop one of the tall trees that border the pond. Sitting outside on the bench enjoying the transition from sunset to darkness, the large tufted ears revealed the big predator's identity. And with a fleeting lift of the heart I watched as it lifted its wings wide and gracefully slide off the branch to glide into the air and away. I could almost feel my arms and chest muscles expand and contract with its wings, somewhere inside me wishing I could do the same and fly.

Listening to the pair's conversation this morning I thought how nice it would be to hear only that and the noise of the other critters that inhabit the day and shuffle around in the night. Rather then the incessant and irritating gaggles and noises of humans on the train and in the cities with their load machines. It reminded me of the calling, the draw, the magnetic pull of the wild and natural places that I miss. Followed by the recalcitrant life I lead during most of the day, away from here, in the busy hive of human ants.

I smiled as I rode the foggy country roads this morning, parting the fog which engulfed me as if I were flying through clouds, enjoying the darkness of the houses and lack of life other than the owls, raccoons and their wild brethren. The wild world and fog eventually gave way to the warmer air and roads of the town and bustle of cars and trucks on their way to donate the better part of their day to have things that hold little interest to me anymore.

While the promise of some day being back amongst the wild things continues to motivate me through another day.


posted by Macrobe
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