Owl and I have been friends for a long time.
I paid attention and listened to my very first owl when I spent some time in an Alaskan village. Even as a teenager I felt an immediate connection to the bird, knowing deep inside there was something more to him than just his enchanting call before dawn. I knew the Owl would forever be my guide.
Lately, I've been going to the trees where the owls live. I see the nest, the same nest that has been there year after year. There is one particular tree I've come to know that houses my favorite bird, where I've witnessed ravens antagonizing and diving and circling her nest on more than one occasion. The familiar tree where underneath her branches I find packed grey pellets and tuck them in my pockets. Under that tree, I have buried newborn owlets that landed there from an accidental fall, or perhaps tossed out for whatever reason or maybe those ravens were just too persistent. Last year I waited and waited for her to give birth. Then, finally one day I saw she had had two. They were fuzzy and white with big eyes and black beaks, lying dead under that tree. I've mourned under that giant spruce more times than I'd like to admit.
A friend of mine told me that he saw the mama owl's ears poking out of the nest recently, but I have not. She must be hunkered down deep. Even with my binoculars I cannot see her. But, I do know she's up there. Yesterday I stood under her blue spruce like a soldier. I stood tall and gently closed my eyes and whispered "Are you there?" I repeated it again. "Are you there?"
I needed someone to talk to. I wanted someone to listen. I was hoping for some answers to all the questions in my head. The what if's, the how come's and the question I most often ask myself these days is why. So much of my life has been a beautiful journey. I've never wanted for much. I was taught all the right things and was given great advice from my parents. Two individuals offering their daughter ideas that couldn't be more opposite. Still, I see now that through the years I blended both philosophies and became who I am today. I am unique for sure. There is only one of me.
Basically what I've been pondering so much these days is, simply, life. What is the meaning of it all? Why am I here? Am I doing what I'm supposed to be doing? Am I giving of myself in the right way? Is there a right way? Have I done the best I can for my parents who have given me so much? How can I do more? Am I on the right path? What is missing?
I'm in deep thought lately. I've not done much else but think about this and think about that, taking inventory of my life; the choices I've made. And what about my future? What will that look like, I wonder? Oh, it's plain to see why I'm questioning everything. It's because I'm afraid. I'm worried sick about my dear mother who has fractured her spine and cannot walk. My heart hurts for her. I keep asking why her? Three months ago she was swimming like a fish. Three months ago she was dancing in the kitchen and strolling the Morro Bay Boardwalk arm in arm with my father. My mother is energetic and athletic and so full of life. Her nickname growing up in Liverpool, England was "Buzz." She won a little silver medal in a gymnastics contest. A teenage girl tumbling and cartwheeling and performing layouts and stag jumps. She gave it to me long ago and now I hold that shiny token in my hand.
I look to nature when I'm feeling low. When life seems unfair, when I'm heavy hearted, I talk to the owls. That's why I've been standing under that tree. Because I know they are listening. They offer me their vision and I leave with a new perspective, a deeper meaning of life and more importantly, to not fear death.
The presence of the owl announces Change. A life transition.
That was what I heard when I asked "Are you there?" Only this time, the answer came from the male owl, her lifelong and constant companion beckoning me from another blue spruce, forty paces away. I walked over to his tree and we stared at each other for a minute. Then that owl winked at me, I thanked him and turned and walked away. His soft hoots, a deep and low sound with a pausing rhythm, he called hoo-h’HOO-hoo-hoo. And he made so much sense.
I own them all. And I am grateful.
(That is all)