Thursday, July 21, 2011
"Deb, come here." The tension in Walt's voice told me I was being summoned to see something I'd be sorry to miss if I didn't move. I hurried into the dining room where he was looking out the bay window through binoculars. On the far end of our field, perched in a large Douglas fir, were two owls—my owls. Out in broad daylight, pretty far from the meadow where I usually see them.
Walt had come in just a few afternoons before with an owl feather he'd found in our yard. (I do know how lucky I am to be married to someone who offers me gifts of sightings and feathers.) And yesterday, not too long after watching the owls preen and perch, as I was looking for a gift to offer a friend, I realized I have an abundance of owl feathers. Enough that sharing didn't feel like a sacrifice (although for this friend, I would have made the sacrifice gladly).
Spotting the owls for the first time last summer was one of the highlights of the season for me. Since then they've become a regular part of my life. I listen for them whenever I'm outside, or for the screeching jays that tell me they're near. My summer days start with their sleepy squawks. My winter days start with their mating hoots and calls.
I'm just beginning to realize that owls have joined the ranks of eagles and hawks and the myriad of songbirds that provide color and music to my days. No longer a novelty. A regular every-day occurrence. Still thrilling to behold.
When I catch a glimpse of one flying away from me, just a second or two too late for the full experience of owl flight, it no longer feels like I've missed something irretrievable. I know there will be another time, another sighting, and probably sooner rather than later.
The sheer glory of living a life in which abundance is measured in feathers and wings and avian variety is a gift beyond measure. To know that whenever I step outside I can expect to have my breath swept away by some small miracle of life. Each one is a tiny explosion of joyous light in the darkness of this grieving time.
Seeing my owls, knowing they're nocturnal and not that easy to spot under any circumstances, makes me consider what else exists in the trees and air around me. Birds, critters, possibilities that are just beyond my sensory grasp.
A fine definition of faith. A certainty of the existence of that which you can't actually see or experience sensually. Faith made stronger by the unlikely, unexpected, but regular appearance of my owls. If I know such wonders as great horned owls and their babies, bald eagles soaring over my head, hummingbirds peering into my eyes with curiosity, it seems easier somehow to trust in the existence of all the wonders I haven't yet met.