last week we went to an owl educational workshop at a local arboretum. we learned about owl habitat and owl vocalizations and what kinds of things owls eat if they’re peckish. after the learning we went out in the woods to track some owls and watched a long-eared swoop swiftly, silently off her cedar perch. at the end jeremy asked the interpreter if owls were rare or common, kept mysterious by their nocturnal habits and amazing camouflage and the guy said the latter and i’ve been walking around in wonderment ever since thinking that they’re everywhere like in one of those pictures where you circle all the hidden surprises.
then the other night i heard a screech owl through the crack in the kitchen window where i stood, making toast with peanut butter, before bed. i heard it once, then twice, then three times and yelled for jeremy to join me on the floor where we slunk with our ears to the outside and the quick, descending trill of the eastern screech.
an owl! right outside our window! has he lived there all this time? keeping quiet until now? maybe he said things before but we didn’t know the language. maybe he said things before but i thought it was the wind.
i hear you now, my little feathered friend! come in through the open window and warm yourself by the faux fire. jeremy will read the hobbit aloud while i rub your tiny neck, safely hidden beneath a cowl of red-grey feathers.