Flights of fancy…

Owls. Today, for quite random reasons, but then again, I am frequently rather random and scattered in where my thoughts take flight…today I kept thinking of owls.

I am quite taken with owls…with the amazing raptor hidden within that soft plumage, the wisdom in their eyes, the way they turn their heads to look back as if it were the most natural thing in the world…which, of course, it IS…if you are an owl. Most of all, I am fascinated by the way they suddenly, silently appear. No wonder they have been  called ‘ghost birds’ and are often associated with spirits.

Great Horned Owl, Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, by snooked.

In the ancient live oak at the old house there was a huge hollow in the trunk, a souvenir from Hurricane Hugo. A pair of Great Horned Owls took up residence in the hollow, and I never tired of watching and listening to them. In the daytime they were all but perfectly camouflaged within the foliage and the deep recess of their nest, at night I would spend long hours listening to their calls. At sunset the male would begin his territorial calls…the hoo hoo hoo hoo-hoo we all associate with these birds.  Later at night the call changed, higher pitched, and with a different pattern…sometimes not hooting at all so much as chirruping or screeching. A wondrous thing to fall asleep with the soft scented breeze from the sea drifting through the windows, and the low call of the owls singing the night to sleep.

In Ohio one of my favorites were the barn owls who took up residence in the stable. You don’t really see barn owls so much, as they really prefer the dark of night to do their hunting, but we surely could hear them.  Barn owls don’t mess around with hooting, they shriek, whine, screech, and make all manner of odd noises.

Image result for barn owl

Late one night leaving the stable a silent blur of white swooped just over my head, and my heart leapt like a rabbit on the run. Just the barn owl making a territorial ‘statement’ about my being on her turf during her watch.

If I choose to believe the wisdom of my Native American lineage, and I do believe they were, and often are, more in touch with the world than we…I think perhaps the owl would be my “spirit” animal.  There’s nowhere I’ve lived there weren’t owls. They are a constant and comfortable familiarity in my life.

I saw an owl in the tree here the night we moved in. Never thought much about it…till today. Some flights of fancy are taken on silent wings.

Image result for eastern screech owl

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One thought on “Flights of fancy…

  1. I’ve always been drawn to owls. We had quite a few in the woods where I grew up. In Raleigh, there was an Eastern Barred Owl who would visit our deck regularly. In Summerville, there were many Great Horned Owls. One night we sat and counted 4 adults and 7 youths in the trees around the yard. It was amazing. Here on the lake, we have Great Horned and Screech Owls.

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