“Nobody tells you when you get born here
How much you’ll come to love it”
Rich Mullin’s, Land of my Sojourn.
Last night, around 9pm, I walked up the hill. I was looking out at Los Angeles when I noticed motion in the sky above me.
Looking up, I watched as our owl (I am assuming this is the owl I see in our tree every day) glided by about 10 feet above my head. As it passed by, it’s head swiveled, obviously keeping me in view. It was close enough that I could practically recognize it. (see image above)
It made a turn about 20 feet away and came back slightly to my West, again, each of us watching the other. A couple powerful flaps of his wings and it rose higher into the night sky. It glided in a wide circle and passed just a few feet over the dogs, who were unaware of its presence.
I watched the owl glide by a few more times – listening careful to its silent passing – before it turned and went to the top of the hill in search of its next meal. We’ve been finding owl pellets all over our front yard, so I’m confident it is a proficient hunter. That makes me happy. I haven’t seen signs of owlets but I’ve made it a point to not spend too much time searching the tree. As far as I’m concerned, it is their tree now. We like the company and do not want them to have any reason to leave.
Below is a short video from the day we discovered him/her watching us.
That’s amazing! And that’s enough!
I don’t attribute any mysticism or metaphysical import to animals beyond their role within nature and as evidence of a creative designer. But watching the hunt did create a sense of peace and even community for me. It’s always been that way. I find the impact of watching and being immersed in nature to, as my kids have often heard me say, “Amazing!” It speaks to me a particular way.
Earlier in the day I had visited a friend and his wife. We attended high school together and were reminiscing about teachers who had a positive impact. I told him of Mr. Daukus, my English Lit teacher, who gave our class one minute to memorize the following poem. At the end of class I was the only student who could recite it from memory and still can to this day.
It speaks of the excitement and pleasure one gets from the natural world. The poet, Wordsworth, suggests that if he does not have the same excitement about nature when he is older, that he would be better off dead. My response to the owl last night has me agreeing with him.
And though this was not in doubt, it confirms that I am not interested in leaving this earth anytime soon.
And I do love it here, so owl let you know when I’m ready to go. (ba bump!)
The poem, for your edification:
My Heart Leaps Up
– William Wordsworth
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.