I haven’t gotten much sleep this week, though not for the usual reasons. Not sure what the usual reasons are – old age? Hope not. Anyway, this week a couple of owls have stopped by my woods. I saw the dark silhouette of the first one at twilight, swooping overhead. It looked small and stout. He landed and began making fun owl noises, such stereotypical owl noises I thought maybe someone was playing a game with me, hiding in the dusky trees. I’d not heard this one before and, silly me, I went in the house and let it go on hooting without me. Checking on line, first for local owl species, making note of the small, fat ones, I came across a Cornell University site, an awesome site with maps and descriptions and recorded bird songs, screeches and other interesting noises birds make. None of the owls I listened to matched what I had heard in my tree. Darn, there aren’t that many owls! This one kept me awake as I tried to remember its almost corny hoot but couldn’t. Could I have discovered a new species! Sad, because it just looked small, fat, and black and I can’t repeat the calls it made to tell anybody!
Two nights later I lay awake listening to a different owl, one I’ve heard many times before. And it was close. This one was gracious enough to repeat its message over and over. Whowhowho who who. It would have laughed to hear my lying in bed mimicking its call to my dogs, who thought I’d lost it. I wanted to be sure to remember it so I could look it up. As I lay there listening I could hear another one answering, far off in someone else’s woods. They hooted back and forth for some time. I was pleased to confirm they were great horned owls on the Cornell site, no doubt about it. Now I can picture these impressive birds sitting in my trees, which I’m so glad I have for them to sit in. 🙂 Some people would consider them sirens of the forest, luring them into dark and evil places, but my woods are safe and protective at night, and I’m thrilled to share them with the owls.
Two nights ago the dogs and I slept with the wood stove, a black and stout and very warm thing in my living room. With predictions of 0 degrees overnight I wanted to be sure to keep it going, and it’s quite pleasant once in a while to drift off to sleep in its peachy, dancing shadows. I woke up once in the wee hours to see a familiar friend sparkling outside the window. In the freezing darkness there was Orion, my guardian of the night, as dependable as a body guard, his sword at the ready. He’s my comfort constellation, and I lay there thinking back of all the places I’ve been over the years where he’s twinkled at me on a clear, winter night.
And just so you don’t worry about me, last night I slept like a log, all the way through 😉
This is great! Every once in awhile we will get owls in the trees behind us I like listening to them, something so calming about them.
Don’t you love sleepless nights! Not!! Glad you finally slept good!
By the way Happy New Year!! 🙂
Very good essay.
I heard an owl outside my apartment in Paso Robles years ago that I couldn’t identify and ended up keeping a tape recorder by my bed so when I heard it again I could quickly get up and record it. It ended up being a screech owl.
Very cool about the screech owl. I was surprised at listening to numerous species how many of them “screech” and make generally obnoxious noises 🙂 Hopefully I’ll hear my first one again and pay better attention. My first thought was that it was too clear of a hoot to be true, also it was a bit short, almost cut off, kinda. Wouldn’t think it would be that hard to remember…
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