Monday, December 5, 2016

"My" Owls

My fascination with owls began about a decade ago, when I discovered a Great Horned owl was living in the woods behind my house. Since then, I have enjoyed reading about them, and I love having an opportunity to photograph them. There were several times the presence of an owl coincided with a significant life event, and sometimes just hearing an owl made me smile, and brought me great peace. 

December 4, 2016

It was after midnight when I heard the familiar call of an owl. I've lived in Illinois for almost two years, and this was a first for me. My eyes were wide open, all of my senses heightened.

For a moment, I wondered if what I'd actually heard was just a mourning dove. I strained my ears in the darkness. There it was again: hoo-h'HOO-hoo-hoo. Definitely a Great Horned. I smiled. "Thank you," I whispered, to the owl. "Thank you for visiting." 

When my husband shifted under the blankets next to me, I whispered, "Listen; there's an owl outside." 

Chuck lifted his head off his pillow, and said, "I don't hear anything." After just a few moments he heard it, too. I was so glad he finally heard an owl with me. While my husband drifted back to sleep, I was wide awake, and I went downstairs to start my day, pausing by the front door to listen, and was rewarded with another round of calls from the owl. 

I sure hope he roosts near our house so I can have an owl in Illinois, too.

Young owl in Sevier, Utah.

Owls have been a presence in my life for the last decade of my life. Native American legend says the owl foretells of death, or a transition in life. It can signal change is coming. For me, the presence of an owl reminds me to be present; to pay attention.  

December 4, 2013

Two and a half weeks before my father passed away, a Great Horned owl swooped down over my head while I was hiking in the snow. I had come to call that particular owl mine. He roosted in the big pine tree behind my garage, and once I was able to see him in the bare limbs of a large, dead tree. 

"My" owl in Marysvale, Utah.

December 15, 2013
One week before my father passed away, I had written this post on Facebook: 

My owl is softly cooing outside our cozy house. He reminds me that all is well, even amid the hustle and bustle, and the occasional disruptions and trials. There is always so much for which to be thankful. 

Today I am thankful for my children, and the way they love and support each other when one is struggling. I'm grateful that the aches and pains I have do not stop me from doing what I enjoy. I'm feeling blessed for the opportunities for service that come my way. I'm looking forward to celebrations of Christmas with my kids. I love how calming the call of an owl is. What a wonderful early Christmas present.

Christmas 2013. Daddy died December 22 that year. 
In the spring of 2014, I found myself still grieving the death of my father, newly divorced, and moving back to my little house up near the mouth of the canyon. 

As I was loading the last of my belongings in the trailer on moving day, I stood outside in the early morning hour. My owl called to me one last time in the darkness. It was time for me to go.

Do I believe that owls deliver messages of imminent death, or signal to me to prepare for a significant transition in my life? No, not at all. I just find it interesting that there seems to be some synchronicity at play in my life. The coincidences of the owl visits intrigue me. 

Whenever I hear the hoot of an owl, I try to be very still, and strain to hear it clearly. These birds are like a touchstone in my life, reminding me that all is well. They help me learn what it is like to be fully present in a moment, noticing only what is important, and allowing the insignificant details to fade from my thoughts. 

My owl moments are a complete immersion in the now, a spontaneous meditation with nature. Whenever it is my good fortune to hear the soft coo of an owl, I feel I have received the sweetest gift.

I love owls; all of them. I am most grateful for the ones that visit me where I live, and call to me from time to time. I feel so blessed by their presence. 

An owl from the Bristol Renaissance Faire.

An owl at the Utah Renaissance Faire.

A family of owls lived in a tree a couple miles from our home in Joseph, Utah.

This owlet didn't take his eyes off me.

This was the clumsy sibling.

Mama isn't happy with the photographer.

Disapproving mother owl, watching me as I photographed her two babies.

Mother owl at Fabyan Park, Batavia, Illinois

Earlier posts about owls:

An Owl's Gift

This Is for the Birds

The Return of My Owl, a Poem

Tromping through the Snow


  1. What a nice post. I love owls too. Funny, I put up a owl decoy on my fence - just for looks and one early morning, we actually had a owl sit by it on the fence. I haven't seen him since.


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