An Owl That’s Me

October 21, 2011

Reincarnation as this owl — that’s what I want. Not merely to flaunt my aerial adroitness, fierce gaze, and stunning plumage. I like the idea of staying up all night and hooting from trees.

I found the video here via a journalist whose work I admire. But James Fallow‘s likening of owls to cats with wings borders on a slur, however unintended.

My closest encounter with an owl of such regal bearing came several years ago just after dusk. I stepped outside onto the back deck overlooking our small goldfish pond and there it was six feet away. More than a foot tall, the owl was perched atop the back of a tall aluminum chair. We stared at each other longer than I expected, maybe a minute, no sign of fear in its unblinking eyes. As if finally bored with our encounter, the owl slowly unfurled its wings. Next came two sounds: the ting of talons clicking against metal, then a whispered whoosh as the owl lifted off into the night.