Although we live in a relatively urban community, the forest primeval is never very far away. We like that. We take great pleasure in walking in the woods. We also take delight in the fact that forest creatures like deer, rabbits, raccoons, and even bears are found in some abundance in the region. In the case of rabbits, raccoons, and deer, sometimes too much abundance.
But one creature that I happen to know abounds, but Wendy had always expressed frustration that she had never seen one in the wild, is the owl. Over the years I’ve seen a number, and they never fail to enchant me.
Yesterday we took a walk in the woods on a delightful trail that is actually within city limits, and as we strode down a trail I could see something in a fir tree. Hey, I thought, this might earn points or even more. There, sitting in a branch about three-quarters of the way up was a wonderful Great Horned Owl – the Owl of All Owls as far as the species is concerned, in my esteem at least. Of course I pointed it out and Wendy was almost beside herself because she was actually finally gazing on an owl that was wisely observing us from his perch.
Owls are wonderfully cool creatures. I don’t think they are probably necessarily wise, but they were given that reputation long ago. Probably because they look sage-like. They can also turn their heads right around just like Linda Blair in the Exorcist. I don’t think they puke pea-soup, on the other hand.
Writers and artists have always loved owls, even if they are rather vicious predators. There is, of course, Howland Owl of the old and still-lamented Pogo strip. He was wise as all-getout. And there is the Winnie the Pooh owl, the self-proclaimed wisest creature ot the forest. Not only was he wise, he was literate, in a manner of speaking. However, he persisted in spelling his name Wol. By the way, I am a purist about W the P, and I refer only to the EH Sheperd illustrations not the awful commercial defiling of a childhood icon by Disney. That’s my bias and I’m sticking to it. Finally, there was Ollie Owl, Henery (sic) the Hawk’s friend in the comic books of the same title. I don’t remember much about Ollie, but I think he used to keep Henery, with this biker boy mentality, out of trouble.
Anyway, we saw our ‘Wol’ and we were delighted by him (or her). Truly did make our day. Funny how wild creatures can do that.