Now that it's finally springtime I've been riding my bike to town, I do this daily. There is a great big nest up in a cottonwood tree right where the bike lane along the highway crosses a creek and then veers off to its own bike trail.
This nest is home to a Great Horned Owl. I've been taking binoculars along with me on some days when I ride to town. I'll sit in the grass for a few minutes and focus on this amazing creature. Mostly all you can see is just it's cat-like head poking up above the huge nest. It's been wonderful to have this chance to see something so beautiful.
In the early evening of Tuesday April 30th I was riding my bike home from my little downtown. I had my iPod on shuffle and the sun was setting. As I approached this corner in the highway closest to the big nest one song faded off and I waited for the next one to start. Instead of music I heard Anne Strieber's voice.
"Hi subscribers, this is Anne Strieber..."
Anne is Whitley Strieber's wife and she has been hosting a series of special interviews where she talks with close encounter witnesses. What I was hearing was the very first in this series from January of 2010, and I was the guest.
Her voice came on just as I was slowing down to see if I could catch sight of the owl. The sun was setting and the closest spot for a view lined up exactly behind the big nest making for some dramatic backlighting. There was really only one good spot to get a view, it was a narrow opening along the scrubby bushes and aspen trees that lined the highway. From this one place I could see the owl's head and the silhouette of it's tufted "ears." There was literally a halo around the owl and I was staring directly into a shimmering aurora with an owl at it's center.
It was at this moment, as I was standing with my bike, that I realized this was the interview with me. I have a ton of stuff crammed onto my iPod, including a lot of audio interviews. I feel like I've downloaded most of Anne's subscriber series with the close encounter witnesses. The chances of this interview popping up at this moment was striking.
What I also realized was right at that moment Anne was having brain surgery to remove a (non-cancerous) tumor called a meningioma.
Before heading to town on my bike I had read this facebook message from her husband, Whitley:
Anne is in surgery now. There are probably about nine or ten hours to go. It is a very meticulous, exacting surgery. Pray for my wonderful girl!So I saw an owl backlit by the setting sun while listening to Anne's voice introducing me while she was having a very serious operation on her brain.
This was an impressive cluster of points all in alignment at that moment; the sun, the owl, Anne's voice, Anne's surgery, plus me and my experiences. I am pretty sure this is a female owl sitting on her eggs. So I was looking at an image of motherhood in this same straight line.
Some of the mythology surrounding the owl is steeped in foreboding and death. But I felt none of that, the experience was delightful and inspiring.
Up until yesterday I had only seen one owl in that nest. While riding home last night I did the same thing, I stopped my bike at the break in the trees to look at the nest and I was delighted to see two owls. Both of them were looking right at me. One stayed low in the nest (I assume sitting on eggs) and the other one hopped from one branch to another. This second owl eventually flew to another tree.
The very first day I looked through my binoculars to get a better view of the owl, at the moment I initially focused on the owl's face—it winked at me!
Also, in the summer of 2011 I had an experience of seeing an owl in an exact alignment with the full moon.
This same corner, where the bike path converges with the highway lines up with a bridge across a creek. This site has been the location of a series of blog posts. One with an old girlfriend and an owl (here). One with two owls crossing my path (here). And one with a deer (here).
Anne Strieber's journal as she waited to go into surgery (here)