The last few nights, an owl has perched in a tree outside my bedroom window.
I don't know what kind of owl it is--I'm not an expert--but I do know it's not a screech owl. It's call is very subdued, the sort of who who who I learned from watching Saturday morning cartoons and campy horror movies.
Rather than being a distraction, the owl's song is very relaxing. I've grown to expect it in the waning hours of my waking day. And each time I first hear it for the evening, I smile.
A smile in the dark is a precious thing. It is the most genuine of smiles. It can have no forced or ulterior reason to be. It is, I think, among the deepest-seated of my emotions--coming unbidden, a pure involuntary reaction to something pleasant.
Perhaps it’s a kind of joy, unspoiled and untainted, as if the best part of me were awakened for a moment and I allowed free rein over my feelings.
Although I am an avid nature photographer, I've never seen an owl in the wild. For some outdoor photographers, myself included, a good photo of an owl is like finding the Holy Grail. I've often been tempted to rouse myself from my warm and dark room and step outside to see if I might catch a glimpse of it. But I haven’t, and I think I won’t.
Part of the allure of the owl outside my window is my smile in the dark. The image of the owl--my imagination--is part of the magic of the moment. I wonder if actually seeing my night visitor would spoil things.
So I am content when I hear it to listen and to allow its song to replace annoying or fretful memories of the day. My mind and soul are attentive to the silence between the hoots, as if the invisible God had sent the unseen owl to preside over my night prayers.
Gratias tibi ago, Domine!*
*I give you thanks, Lord!
(c) 2017 Larry Pizzi
50 years of photographs and 35 years of keeping a commonplace book.