on the tail of an owl
So there I was, in a huff and a snit and an altogether foul mood (yes, even I get that way sometimes) when my husband called from the driveway (he was on his way out to pick up our son, not to get a safe distance away from me) telling me that the owl that occasionally serenaded us with its nocturnal chantings was perched ever-so-clearly in the tree not 40 feet from him. It was six o'clock, Eastern Daylight Time. Sunset was still an hour away so despite the overcast, drizzly day, I had a date with a diffident neighbor.
I put on my shoes, my coat (it was cold), and slowly went outside, careful not to shut the door and thus scare away the bird. As I gingerly began my walk down the driveway, I saw a large, chubby bird take flight, darting from the bare poplar to the stately evergreen. It wasn't more than 20 feet off the ground and 100 feet from me, but it was hard to pick out amidst the tangle of branches.
Gently, I kept walking. These birds are keen witnesses, though. I hadn't gone 10 more steps when it swooped away, skimming along the base of the cherry trees that line the front of my yard. I kept after it as it turned north, still flying low, and disappeared in a heap of forest debris. I approached, peering into dips and burrows and gaps, seeing nothing with these novice, untrained eyes. No doubt, birders, trackers, naturalists of all sorts would have seen a library-full of information. I just saw a heap of debris.
It was time to give the bird its space, and go back inside. And just as you might imagine, I returned to my space feeling a whole lot better. You can't stay knotty trailing a thing of beauty, even if it gives you the slip.