The Ranch Hand’s Diary:
Owls: A Vignette
Three Great Horned owls live out behind the meadow cabin where Jesse and I live. The first time I saw the baby, sitting fuzzy and small on a low lying branch, I dubbed him Baby Ewok. Later, when I saw the parent owl, age marked by the darker feathers, I named him (who is probably a her) Chewbacca. It wasn’t until later that I realized there were two babies. I can’t tell them apart so Jesse and I call them the Ewok Twins.
At dusk, when Jesse and I return home from our work day, the owls are often sitting on the other side of the creek perched on their favorite branch. Too immature to talk just yet, the Ewok Twins squeak their comments. They still have to learn how to say, “Who who, who who who?”
Jesse says they look like humans in owl suits—their oddly human shaped eyes watching us as we come around the corner of the cabin and head into our respective rooms. Even the young ones seem wise in their silence. In their observation of us.
Most nights, I sit on my bed to read with the pillows bunched up behind me against the metal headboard. The window is to my left and I catch movement, the falling light of the day, and sometimes the glimmer of stars out of the corner of my eye. Chewbacca likes to sit on my roof and on the porch. When he moves, taking flight to hunt or find a better sitting place, his shape casts a dark passing shadow that makes me flinch with its size and suddenness.
It’s at night that Chewbacca must teach the Ewok Twins the facts of owl living, of owl life. Hunting, perching, watching, hooting, observing, becoming wise. It’s at night, after dark that they have dance parties on our roofs. Jesse and I have yet to be invited.