The Owl

The sky’s blue becomes deeper and darker, as it’s fiery red horizon fades into darkness, I sit here on a rock and find myself in the company of an unusual creature…

In my three-hour summer college course, during the 15 min break, I’d often go and sit outside, particularly on the large boulders that are strewn on the hillside. No one, save for the occasional random hikers, come here, so I’m alone with a fading sunset and my thoughts.

But lately, I’ve been seeing a silhouette of something bigger than the normal birds and they didn’t like it.

I was in the presence of an owl.

I knew by the general shape it was an owl, it had “horns” and the way it turned it head only confirmed it. But I couldn’t really make out which of two species it really was, but that thought didn’t cross my mind, until much afterwards.

No, the first thought that crossed my mind was, “Am I going to die?”

I remember the various myths and stories of what an encounter with an owl means, and the sum of all that really is just plain: Something bad is going to happen. Death, Illness that leads to death, child is about to be abducted into their doom, just pretty much Death.

So, naturally, for a brief moment, I thought my timely death was imminent. But I’ve always associated Owls with wisdom and not doom. Something about their stance, their presence just echos with knowledge, in most cultures/myths that’s knowledge that you’re going to die, but I digress.

I’ve been nothing but fascinated with my new company, despite the angry cries of the local birds that see only his predatory side, I tried to get closer to him, at least enough to get a good look at him. But I liked having him near, it felt interesting, that I was somehow wasn’t emitting an energy of hostile, ignorant human energy, but that my energy was somehow, ever so slightly more tolerable to him, less like a human who’d throw rocks at him, and more like the rocks he rest on, or the trees that he’d perch on from flight.

That thought filled me with content, that I can be more in tuned with nature, to the point of being accepted by the animals that surround me, even the wisest of them. Heh, I don’t know what form of the mythology the owl represented while it was around and then looked at me, but I’m just content in seeing one in person, and in the wild, not in some zoo or preserve.

If one really thinks about it, there are millions of images on the internet, but that’s no where near anything close to the real thing. like the late Robin Williams said in Good Will Hunting:

“So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that…”

And this was before the internet, now people have become more arrogant about knowing about these things, but in reality, they’ve hardly ever experienced them.

This one case is a small one, sure, but I’ve experienced that owl. I mean, it was right there in that tree and I was right there beneath it and we occupied the same space in the same time and I wasn’t looking at it through a screen nor was his presence there artificially, or with cages, it was there because it chose to be there, and I just happened to be blessed enough to be in the vicinity when it did.

To think, this will probably be the smallest experience I’ll ever remember, but it doesn’t change the fact that this is, and always will be, an experience, and one I will always remember.

 

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