Hidden beneath an old lilac bush, a wise old owl watches over my garden. He’s surrounded mostly by native wildflowers that enjoy the shade, some spring ephemerals that bloom only for a short time. A patch of variegated solomon’s seal that I planted this year provides some extra cover and helps him blend in even more with the surroundings.
My mother loved owls, and now I do, too. They are becoming very popular these days, I’ve noticed. Trendy even, I might say. I see owls all the time decorating household items in the stores and online – pillows, curtains, coffee cups. I think it’s very interesting that such a kind of humble, maybe even old-fashioned sort of bird is becoming so popular these days.
Maybe they speak to something we are all craving, a kind of old-fashionedness an owl reminds us of.
They are also very mysterious, too. It’s rare to see one, unless you’re out and about at night stalking through the dark forests. I hear them often, far off in the woods around the house. But I’ve seen only a few, mostly at raptor festivals, events where birders bring owls and other birds of prey for people to experience. In person, they are a lot more impressive than my garden resident. And a lot scarier, too, with sharp beaks and talons that are clear evidence of their predatory nature.
However humble and cute they might appear to us, for most animals that encounter them, I think an owl is probably the last thing they see in this world at all.
And I have to be content with keeping a less dangerous version around. So my stony owl sits in the garden, always visible, always watching, always wise. When I see him, I think of my mom, and of the owl’s own mysterious and secretive nature, something not often seen by the human eye. I wait at night to hear them, sometimes the only evidence they exist at all, and count myself lucky when I do.