Owls in the neighborhood
I wrote all of this a long, long time ago; now I will post it.
Labor Day Weekend 2006. Hurricane John up from Mexico and
dumping unusual amounts pouring rain on the desert. I was getting ready to go to a Chinese restaurant and went out to the car to get my hair brush. There was no noise, no reason to cause me to look up, but I looked up and saw an owl flying above. Except in pictures, I have only seen an owl once in real life, on my cousin’s ranch north of Globe, but this had to be an owl. Huge wingspan, silent, flying in the dark, it looked just like an owl. It flew into the eucalyptus tree, so I ran under the tree and looked up to see if I could see, but it was completely hidden.
Later on, at the dark and noisy restaurant, sitting in the corner booth, outside the rain fell down, never stopping, I was enjoying the red glow of the lights and my coke, and so thrilled because I had a mystery on my hands: Did I really see an owl? A real live owl?
My fortune cookie read: Seeing is believing.
Weeks later, coming home late on a Tuesday from Jamie’s house. Driving east on Houston towards Lindsay, I saw a whoosh in the corner of my eye and knew immediately what I was seeing. Still driving, but with my eyes no longer on the road, I followed that owl the length of two houses as she flew into an elm tree.
My heart was beating so fast. Ok, so she was real. I really did see an owl……right?
Taking a walk with Becky, this was days or even a couple weeks later, again, at night, of course, rounding the corner onto Melody Road, near the house where the post man lives (the post man who uses a toilet bowl as a flower pot). He seemed like he was working on his car but he was shining a bright light up into the towering eucalyptus on his property and then I heard the faintest sound: whoo……..whoo…….whoo.
Wait, is he making that noise? I asked. We got nearer and then kept walking down the street and we really couldn’t decide. It kind of sounded like a human saying whoo……..whoo…….whoo, maybe trying to coax something from the owl? But then further down the street, we recognized the sound had to be coming from up high, from up in the tree’s branches.
So that had been pretty much proof. An owl had taken up residence in this neighborhood. I started reading about owls and thought maybe this owl was a great-horned owl, but the coloring wasn't quite right. She had the wingspan. She had the ears. But she seemed to be completely white like the owls in the kid wizards movie.
Maybe she was displaced by all the development that is happening around here in all directions. I hope this place works out for her. There are so many cars and people and buildings, but there are lots of small birds and I’ve seen mice, so maybe it’s a good place.
One morning, leaving for work, it was about half past 5 am, I heard the whoo…..whoo….whoo again.
The last time I’ve had any clue of the presence of the owl was at least a month ago, a little before Thanksgiving. Again a very light whoo…..whoo….whoo at the end of the street coming from the Eucalyptus trees.
All the above was from Labor Day weekend 2006 thru Thanksgiving 2006. At some point, New Years Day 2007, actually I think, I realized there were at least two owls, because they were calling back and forth to each other while I was out doing yard work after the sun had gone down. Then I didn't hear or see even one owl for the longest time, until a few weeks ago when out taking a walk, we looked up and there was the great white owl, huge wings spread out and wheeling around in the sky and making a noise like ekee ekee ekee. Do owls echo-locate? It's just good to know there is an owl in the skies and trees above my neighborhood. A little magic and mystery in suburbia.