In the still autumn night
crickets chirp at
the forested edge,
the child and I stand rooted.
When we hear three voices cry out,
whoo whooh – awhooh” –
a convocation of owls
calls us to evening prayer.
Straining to hear,
I open the window
wide with wonder
just like the child who is
soothed by the sound of brook waters
sliding over moss covered stone.
Our golden apple tree breathes in sweet night air.
The chorus of Great Horned Owls begins again.
Memory strikes the dark mother chord
hidden deep within.
Fear leaps out like a roaring tiger
claws extended, with piercing eyes,
Owls come to those who need them,
Send messages of Flight
to the cosmos, seeking spirals,
that may or may not exist.
No wonder the experience
of human fright seems surreal.
Great Horned Owls
sent from the Great Beyond.
Tecolate, Indigenous people call them
heeding their words,
turning heads away.
Transmitting Light through Sound
Owls hoot to warn,
to comfort, to heal,
to eventually transform.
One year ago this month,
a great horned owl landed on
on my bird’s cage.
And my dove nearly lost his life…
What am I to make
of such a visitation
from these three Old Women
in feathered apparel?
The child fears death
for her beloved bear.
I cringe with fright.
for an aging body,
a wounded bear.
How do I deal
with knowing that
we have been invaded?
Or that death may be near?
I have no answers.
I will not comfort the child
with promises I cannot keep.
“Only change is constant,”
I hug her as we weep.
Whatever the outcome
We will search out Love
in a ground of red ash,
brown dirt, “our mothers,”
include a generous hearted man,
and the planting of single apple seed.
I remind the child what her bones know:
(if she could remain sewn inside her skin)
That Earth has always been our Mother
that the Great Bear can bring us peace.
“Who whoo, who whoo, who hooh, ahooh…”
This trio of owls witness deep distress,
Responding thrice with voices that remind us
that neither bear, woman, or child
will walk our path alone.
When I was a small child my mother, an artist, used to draw great horned owls, and I started drawing them too. I feared this particular owl. Through all of my adulthood I associated great horned owls with my mother with whom I had a most difficult and confusing relationship.
Twice a Great Horned Owl came to warn me of impending death.
Here in this mountain valley I used to have barred owls who hunted at dusk, and although I loved them they also carried messages I didn’t want to hear.
Two nights ago a convocation of Great Horned owls gathered just beyond my house (this has never happened before in 30 years). Their beautiful calls initially captivated me although I could feel another more somber message coming through the night air. Later, coyotes sang.