Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hoot Owl Karma

When I was a child, my family rescued and rehabilitated an eastern screech owl which had been struck by a car. It ate raw meat from our hands and watched our every move from its perch on the edge of my mom's antique upright piano. Soon it had recovered sufficiently to fly freely about the house. I vividly recall our emotional farewell...we placed her gently in the branches of the dogwood tree out front before departing for church early one Sunday. When we returned a few hours later, she was gone.

Before she left, we gave her the name Hazel, and she gave me Hoot Owl Karma.

Great Horned Owl with Prey

All along life's winding road, Hazel's kin have provided a soundtrack. The quavering screech of her clan; the "who, who, who cooks for you" of my friend the barred owl; and the deep, muffled, "who-who, whooo, who-who" of the great horned owl, un-rivaled ruler of the night skies.

In the wilderness, in the heart of the college campus or on the front porch in suburban neighborhoods, the hoot owl's voice, startling, thrilling, timeless as nature herself... reconnects us with an ancient, eternal part of ourselves.

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