Two nights ago, I heard the hoot-hoot hoot-hoot-hoot of an owl calling through my open window in the dark. I couldn’t understand what it had to say, or if it was saying anything at all, my mind cluttered by coronavirus, uncertainty, and change. But it soothed me.
I’ve been home now for 25 days straight, an eternity for a wanderer like me. It’d be easy to feel sad, disappointed, even angry, as plans to float rivers, photograph coastlines, spend time with friends and family, and more fell apart in what feels like a blink of an eye. An understandably distraught friend wrote me yesterday, “Life has been cancelled!”
When he said that, I recalled the owl’s song. The owl knows nothing about the plight of the human race right now. It’s life isn’t cancelled. Although it may feel otherwise, and that’s ok, ours isn’t either. Life is still happening all around us. It’s ours to still live fully, albeit differently, if we so choose.
Late last night, I walked into my gear room, where my still-packed dry bags for a cancelled river trip sat stacked neatly in a line. I dug out my tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, pillow, and headlamp, maybe some dark chocolate-covered cherries too. I headed to the patch of artificial grass in my backyard to camp with the palo verde tree, Orion, and of course, the owl. If I couldn’t be on a river or on a coast, I could still be outside.
Around three, I woke again to the familiar chorus: Hoot-hoot hoot-hoot-hoot. The owls message was now clear to me: If you can’t change the rules, change the game.
I’ll be sleeping outside again tonight…
I too have been listening the birds more. Heard an owl too as well as woodpecker & others I can’t ID. Love your backyard oasis. I live in Florida & it’s too dangerous to sleep in my backyard – what with snakes, mosquitoes, etc.
Hi Mary Jeanette! So good to hear. The owls are really making a mark right now–I’ve heard from so many that they too are hearing owls where they live. Yeah, I don’t know if I’d be sleeping in a tent with snakes and gators. Yikes! But getting some fresh air is good for our mental and physical health, even if it’s only in our own backyards right now. Stay well and safe!