When the sun was taking up as much space as it could in the day, but my heart was still cloaked in the heaviness of winter, I started to take evening walks. I’d sing my little one to sleep and leave him in the care of his father, slipping out the door to seek whatever movement and longer days could offer me.
Not long after starting this routine, I started to see the owls. Big Barred Owls I think. At first there was only one, and only once in a while. Then, I started seeing two, almost daily, and always in the same spot. I would seek out their shadowy forms coming and going from their perches in a tree along my route. They would swoop away, dreamlike, their magical and stealthy flight lifting away a few layers of accumulated fatigue and collective loss.
One night, there were three owls. An owl family, one like my own? Two sat at their perches, while the third (the biggest it seemed to me) hopped and pounced through a front yard pursuing something small, a mouse? I watched and watched until I suddenly felt I had intruded on too intimate a scene and continued on my way.
The next night, there was only one owl. It sat for the longest time on the fence right in front of me, half looking at me and then turning away. The encounter became so intense that I crossed the street in fading daylight and kept walking, leaving the owl behind.
I didn’t see the owls again. While my mind knows that the law of nature is change, I still held out hope that I might glimpse the owls once more, get one more shot of their healing power. But of course, just as quickly as I began to expect them, they moved on. Now, it is nearly dark when my child falls asleep. I walk during the day. I try to hold the memory of the owls close. I try to keep my eyes open to receive the next gift.