Creatures of the Night – Owl

In the heart of Winter, which creature of the night wants to lend its wisdom to these words? Owl answers. I receive impressions:  Winter. Night gliding, soundless. Surprise attack, talons sharp, prey gives. Sustenance. Life continues in its cycle. I felt the wind slipping past my wings, saw images of trees and snow on the ground, a hare my quarry. Strike!  The end is quick.

It’s evening, and Owl is busy, so I turn my attention to Boris the Great Horned Owl. Her damaged wing has made her a permanent resident of Sulphur Creek Nature Center. I ask if she minds being alone in her enclosure.

”I have companions,” she says. “They call and visit. I can join their conversation. They are curious to hear my stories about the people, as I enjoy their stories of hunting and life of flight.

“I have had cage mates, but both left their bodies. I am curious about the people and enjoy the children. They make funny noises trying to sound like me.

“At first I did not want to be here, and would rather have been prey myself. I have become an ambassador of sorts, helping young ones learn more about my kind. The people who care for me and take me out are kind, and care. I like going places and visiting, except when it’s too noisy. And sometimes I would rather sleep. I will live out my days here.

“Tell the people to keep the trees, and the grasslands. Each of us as bird species lives and hunts. We are part of the cycle of life. Some people believe we have magic. What we offer is our special skills, our senses, our way of being. You [people] fear the night, for you can not see well. Your senses have become dull. Learn from us.

“The light comes again each day and each season. Find your own natural rhythm, as we have. There are others who seek the same prey as we, but they hunt in the light. We owls are birds of the night. When you hear our calls, you can remember that life is all around you, all the time. Teach your children to honor life in all its many forms.”

I thanked Boris for speaking with me, and promised to deliver her message.

On my next trip to Sulphur Creek I stopped by her cage. Rather than staying on the large branch at the back of her enclosure as she usually does, Boris flew to the front of the cage and regarded me with large eyes. “Thank you for asking me to speak,” she said.

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"Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms." - George Eliot
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Gandhi
"There is little that separates humans from other sentient beings – we all feel pain, we all feel joy, we all deeply crave to be alive and live freely, and we all share this planet together." - attributed to Gandhi
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