The lesson of the owl

I was running through the countryside at the break of dawn when a big white snowy owl came coasting across a flat field. Gliding gently, he was a spectacle. The sun streamed across the fall-harvested cornfield, and a cool mist layered beneath the swooping owl. He was intently focused on any movement below him. But the rising sun was directly in his eyes, obscuring a barbed wire fence. The owl’s outstretched wings snagged into the barbs, and his flapping wings lodged them deeper and deeper. I turned around and ran the quarter-mile home to call a wildlife expert in a nearby town.

The expert couldn’t come out, but instructed me to put on thick gloves and unhook the barbs. My husband hopped in the pickup with me, and we were back to the field within minutes. On the approach I thought, “This is not going to be easy,” but quickly checked my thinking. I reasoned that this was God’s beloved creature, who wanted to be free just as we wanted to free him, so we were unified in purpose.

Without speaking, my husband put on the stiff leather gloves, and we walked quietly to the huge bird. From the road, he looked about a foot tall, but as we stepped across the deep ditch, I could see that he was about twice that. I later learned “he” was a “she” because she had dark scallops on the edges of her snowy white feathers. Her big eyes were focused intently on me. Instinctively I opened and closed my eyes, and she followed suit. It seemed to calm both of us. My husband gently eased near her. I kept quietly comforting the owl with words like: “Don’t be afraid. We’re all one. We’re here to help you.” I was repeating this for all
of us.

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A new design in the new year
December 3, 2012

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