At the kitchen sink in the home where my husband grew up, talking to his mother, movement from the window caught my eye.
“Oh, is he here?” my mother-in-law Faye asked.
“The owl? Yeah. Does he come every day?”
She had posted a picture of an owl on Facebook the other day, sitting on top of her bird feeder in the backyard.
“Yeah, pretty much. And it’s like they know,” she laughed, explaining how the other birds and the squirrels disappear when he arrives.
I was visiting that Sunday to enter all of our information into Turbotax. I had thought for a moment after I had left the house that I should bring my camera, but, of course, I didn’t want to go back for it. And of course, since I didn’t, here sat the owl. Most refer to the owl as a he, but I felt like the owl was a she. How do you tell with an owl anyway?
Hm. Well, she was perched on a branch up in a tree at the very edge of the forest line. Her brown and white colors matched perfectly with the bark on the naked trunk and branches. Had there been leaves I would not have seen her. Without the leaves, her large size was noticeable. As I sipped my coffee and stared out the kitchen window, I could see her periodically move her head. Mostly I saw eyes or no eyes. Either way, her head was tilted down and her gaze was focused on the ground beneath her. Almost four o’clock, Faye and I assumed it was dinner time. I sipped and watched.
“Mama . . .”
“Come here, Bean,” I said, looking at my daughter who had come into the kitchen.
Sliding the palms of my hands beneath her armpits, I hoisted her onto the counter instructing, “Bend your knees.”
As I set her on the edge, I wrapped my right arm around her holding her against my body. I lifted my left arm up next to her head and pointed out the window toward the tree, “Do you see her?”
“Uh-huh. A owl.”
“Yep. Isn’t she cool?”
I held Bean there for a moment, the two of us and Grandma looking out at the owl. Then I lifted her back off the counter. Into the other room she went, and back she came. “Mom, can you draw lines?” she asked, handing me two pieces of white paper.
“Here, honey, just fold ‘em,” I said, folding the paper in half and in half and in half. “There you go. There are your guides.”
“And now you don’t have to erase the lines,” her Grandma said.
Bean set her papers on the counter top next to the sink. She looked out the window then wrote on her paper. Looked out the window then wrote on her paper.
“Where’s the owl?” my son asked, coming into the kitchen from the living room.
Putting my palms beneath his armpits, I squeezed and lifted him onto the edge of the sink just as I had done with his sister. I wrapped my right arm around him holding him against my body, and lifted my left arm up near his face, pointing out the window so his eye could see past the tip of my finger and spot the owl.
“Do you see her, Bubbs?”
Then down he wanted, and off he went. I’m not sure he actually did see her. If he did, he wasn’t all that impressed. But my daughter, she stood looking and writing, and I joked, “Well, I’ll have to tell Dad I didn’t get taxes done because you were distracting me with an owl.”
I laughed, picked up my coffee cup, and made myself go back to the computer to enter information from the previous year. Believe me, I would have rather stood and watched the owl.
A few minutes passed and into the living room came Bean. “Are you ready?” she asked, walking over and sitting on the loveseat.
Grandpa, Grandma and Bubbs looked at her from the couch, and I spun around in the office chair. Without looking up from the three white papers she had unfolded, wrote on, flattened and stapled together, she began:
I was at my Grandma and Grandpa’s. Do you know what I saw? A owl! It was so cool. He was standing on . . . (turn the page)
a brandch (branch). He was like a statue. I named him Mr. Sike (Stick). Because he was like a statue. I thotgh (thought) it would be a nice name. (turn the page)
A fyou (a few) secons (seconds) later. I gaded (got) a pece (piece) of paper and started this. I thotgh (thought) it would be a nice book. (end)
She looked up and smiled at all of us smiling at her.
“She was pretty cool, huh, babe?” I asked.
Bean shook her head, got up from the loveseat and handed me her papers; she knew I would want to keep them. I may not have had my camera to capture the magnificent owl we saw, but my daughter captured the moment beautifully. How fun to see an owl. How fun to share with my children a piece of nature. How awesome to watch my daughter look out the window and write on her paper, look out the window and write on her paper, look out the window and write on her paper. And read to us about Mr. Stick. Thank you, Mr. Stick for making our Sunday special.