Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Night of the owl...

Living in the country has its moments. Last night, I was up at 3:30 a.m. (Happens all the time....I don't sleep much.) I made a trip to the woodshed so that I could reload the stove, moving quietly so as not to wake the wife.

It's pretty placid here on our West Virginia hilltop...we're half a mile off the state road, and even a breeze through the trees has disproportionate auditory impact. That's why I froze when I heard a deep voice from the woods to the south of our house. The voice was deeper than my own former FM disk jockey baritone. And it said, "Whooooo....who...who."

The hair on the back of my neck hadn't settled down before I became overcome with a deep and profound excitement. "Hot damn! That's an owl!" Now, I'm not particularly ga-ga about owls. I don't collect owl tchotchkes or anything like that. I don't believe that they are particularly wise. I didn't attend Rice or Temple (although the wife is a Temple alum).

My reaction to this long-eared fellow was of a primal nature. I had heard the voice of springtime, and it was speaking to me alone. Buds on the forsythia, crocuses and daffodils emerging. Stark branches against the winter sky softening as they become cluttered with nascent leaves. These signs of impending spring had been visible for a week or so, but I didn't allow myself to become too excited. After all, a hard freeze isn't out of the question, even into April. But hearing Mr. Asio otus talking dirty to Ms. Asio otus brought home the irreversible truth...it's Spring, baby.

Rural rhythms are tied to the seasons. My nearest neighbor and I were talking yesterday about the imminent spring chores...gathering up the detritus of winter, making way for the newness of spring, getting ready to get the garden ready...we're even looking forward to looking forward to spring stuff.

There is a proliferation of moles this year. They eat grubs, which is a good thing, but their tunnels are a nuisance. The resulting soft spots can twist dog knees and human ankles. Poison and/or traps aren't options because of the dogs. I'm no more malevolent toward the little rat bastards than they are toward the grubs, but they've got to go. Who will rid me of these turbulent pests?

Ah, that would be Mr. Owl. Owls love small rodents, and the process of eating them results in some utterly fascinating vomitus.

Ok, I've gone from an elegiac discussion of Appalachian spring time to a discussion of bird puke. That's it. I got nothin' else.....thanks for visiting, and thanks to Helmut at Phronesisaical for the link!


  • This is simply a gorgeous piece of writing.

    By Blogger Kira, at 10:49 AM  

  • Yup, I agree. Really nice piece, and it's good to see you do more posting.

    I especially like the part about Helmut.

    You know you're welcome anytime chez moi. Keep the comments coming.

    By Blogger helmut, at 2:58 PM  

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