This is a new photo, taken in the wee hours of Monday morning when I went outside with the dogs for a few minutes. I could feel EYES watching me; usually that means a rat is lurking somewhere, or a cat has interrupted some good old-fashioned rat stalking to stare at me. I don’t know if this is the same visitor I photographed in March of last year, but I was lucky to get one good photo this time.
Though it’s a new photo, I have an old story to go with it.
There’s a 1967 Canadian novel by Margaret Craven that was published in the U.S. in the early 1970s titled I Heard the Owl Call My Name, the story of an Anglican vicar who goes to live with Native Indians in British Columbia. I’ve never read it–now that I’ve remembered it, maybe I will–but my father was reading it one week when my mother was out of town. The phrase that gave the book its title comes from a Kwakiutl legend: When you hear the owl call your name, death is imminent.
When my mother returned to town, she or Terri brought Daniel for a visit. He was probably around this age.
While she was unpacking, Daniel did reconnaissance of the house–as I’ve mentioned before, she was always changing things. He came into her bedroom and said, “Grandmother, why is there an owl in the living room?” She pretty much ignored him, as adults are wont to do when children say foolish things. When he persisted, she said, “I have a lot of little birds all over the house, Daniel. [true; she collected wooden and ceramic birds and owls] Which one do you mean?”
He took her hand and led her to the living room, the least used room in the house. Then he pointed to a real, live owl who had somehow found its way inside and blinked sleepily at them from its perch.
I’m not sure how they got the owl out of the house–except that I know it wasn’t harmed.
Daddy was grateful that he didn’t hear the owl hoot in the night while he was reading his novel, because as he said, the title might have become a self-fulfilling prophecy. And I learned that it’s always a good idea to listen to Daniel.