In previous posts, I've mentioned that my husband often brings me back things he finds on his walks in the woods. A couple of years ago, he brought back this lovely accoutrement for our shed. It's really a big hit in our neighborhood, and everyone wants one, but I sometimes wonder what our visiting deer friends think.
Actually, my husband hasn't brought me anything for well over a month now, but he did bring back a story today that he's just finished telling me.
I thought you'd find it interesting, too.
There are lots of trails that lead to different places nearby our home. One particular trail will take you to what we've always called our sitting spot. There's a big downed pine tree to sit on and directly behind it, there's a tree, so when you sit on the pine, your back's at a perfect angle and it's quite a nice spot to view the marsh it faces.
Today my husband decided to take the trail to the sitting spot. And because it's his day off, he took a beer with him. He told me that when he finally got there, he got comfortable on the log and then opened his beer with his pocketknife. He took a sip and said it was really good. George had gone off for some exploring and as my husband sat there, he said it was so quiet and peaceful and all he could hear were the birds. It was a good day.
Then he heard a whoosh above him. And when he looked up, he saw that an owl had landed in the tree next to him, about 10 feet away. He wasn't sure what sort of owl it was, but he said it looked really happy. Like it had a happy face. At this point, I asked him if he'd taken one of my pain pills, but he says he didn't.
It was a big gray owl and it had no ears, he said. The owl was looking straight ahead and then turned its head completely to the side and looked directly at my husband with its black eyes. They stared at each other. My husband says that he smiled at the owl and then took another sip of his beer. The owl continued to stare at him. For several minutes, they sat in silence. Just looking at each other. And smiling. And then there was a slight noise from afar, and they both turned to look. It was George returning.
The owl and my husband looked back at each other. The owl kept looking towards where George was coming from and finally, he took off and landed in some trees across the marsh.
He wasn't sure exactly what kind of owl he'd just spent time with, so when he came home and told me this story, my husband got out the bird books. See how exciting it is at my house?
The best pictures were found in our Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds. They have real photographs in this one, and my husband found exactly what he was looking for.
A barred owl is a large and stocky owl, gray-brown with cross-barring on the neck and breast and streaks on the belly. No ear tufts. They're 20-inches in length and they live in low, wet woods and swamp forest.
The book goes on to say that this owl is seen only by those who seek it out in its dark retreat, usually a thick grove of trees in lowland forest. There it rests quietly during the day, coming out at night to feed on rodents, birds, frogs, and crayfish. If distubred, it will fly easily from one grove of trees to another.
My husband wasn't really looking for anything today, other than a quiet place to sit. And I guess he and the owl just happened to be looking for the same thing at the same time.
I enjoyed this little story he told me. So you see, he actually did bring me something home today.
Chouette rayee/Barred Owl, courtesy of Meantux, www.flickr.com.