Monday, July 4, 2022

I just saw three owls

Barred owl at twilight. Double-click for a HI-rez view.

I took a walk across the street about an hour before dark. There is a park along the Puget Sound and there is one small section of old growth forest. I was on a path in among the big trees on my way to the water. I was listening to voice of Terry Lovelace, it was the audiobook Devils Den The Reckoning. I had just started the book, and he spoke my name in the list of acknowledgments. He said, “My comrade Mike Clelland.” 

A little bit later I saw a piece of crumpled paper towel in the path, and I thought, “I should pick that up.” I didn’t, but I kicked it to the center of the path and I figured I could get it on the way out. A second later I saw big wings lift off from the ferns on the edge of the path—it was an owl and it flew up and landed in a tree nearby. I waited a moment and then took a few steps towards it, and two more owls lifted off the forest floor around a corner in the path. They flew in the same direction, past the perched owl in the tree and deeper into the woods. 

This was a small barred owl, and I managed to get a picture. I tried to move a little closer, and it flew away in the direction as its comrades. I turned around, found two long twigs, and used them like oversized chopsticks to pick up the paper towel in the path. 

I carried it to the dumpster near the parking lot along the water. A young ranger was there, and she saw how I was holding the paper towel, and she said, “Oh thats a good idea, I never thought of that. I just use my hands.” I put it in the dumpster and said, “I didn’t want to touch it, and the sticks are easily available. You can get ‘em in there.” I pointed to the forest. 

 I told her I'd just seen three owls, and she gave me a look of wow. We talked for a bit, and she said she had seen an owl standing on the side of the road not too long ago, and she thought that was odd. I didn’t ask how big it was. Then she told me that she is scared of birds. 


text added Friday July 8th 2022
When I first wrote this, I used the word comrade twice. I was quoting Terry Lovelace (about me) and I was calling the two other owls "comrades," and I thought that was too much. I changed the line about the owls to "it flew away in the direction as the other owls." And now I just changed it back to what I'd initially written. This is just a blog post, and it feels right to use that perfect word twice.

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