It’s very early in the morning. I’m awake because a hoot owl has taken to slowly circling the house and, unsurprisingly, hooting in the early morning hours.
Its supremely unsettling. I tend to wonder if it’s to upset the dogs, or if there’s vermin in the bushes around the house that he wants, but either way, being able to follow his path and knowing exactly when he’s outside your window…its unsettling.
This last fall, when I would be sitting at my desk later in the evening, I would often get the impression that I was being watched. My desk sits under the window, across the way from the window is some tall Arborvitae bushes and down a bit is a tree (possibly an Locust tree? Dunno) who’s branches reach out closer to the window. Well, the hoot owl learned that if he sat on top of the Arborvitae or in the outer tree branches, well, he could see right into my room. So several nights in a row I’d get an ominous feeling, start to hear the hooting, and I would look up from my desk just to make eye contact with him. Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway) I started closing my blinds shortly after sunset, no matter what. Previously I’d just sorta waited until the next time I got up to stretch, but now its been made a priority all its own.
I’ve been told that seeing an owl peer through your window is good luck. It doesn’t particularly feel like good luck to have a large predatory bird staring at you while you work. Especially when you have a very small dog sleeping on your lap (admittedly, I don’t think the owl could see Watts under the blanket under the desk but still). So, I thought I’d look it up and see.
(It’s at this point that I tell you my “research” consisted of a Google search, this was in no way thesis level work and you should probably double check what I’ve written before proudly declaring it at your next party/meeting/carpool.)
Looks like, based on the first three links of my Google search, that owls are associated with the night, death, and fear just about as often as they are associated with bravery and good omens. It also seems to be a fairly even split, on cursory look, amongst the Native American populations as it varies wildly by tribe.
In a more blanket “spiritual” sense a lot of religious and spiritual groups seem to see the owl as a sign of good fortune and wealth, and one looking in your window is meant to bring joy and comfort. But I could seem to parse exactly why they hold that belief.
Look, I don’t know if I felt comforted at all about an owl outside my window and I don’t think I believe in lucks and omens and signs. I do believe I will keep a better eye on my small beans as they go through their morning routines. Especially as this owl gets bolder and has started yelling when I turn on my light in the morning. In fact, he’s chewing me out as we speak. I’m meant to let the dogs out for their morning business in about an hour, I always stand out there with them anyway (I never let my beans out at any time of the day without supervision, as I don’t have a fence and they all grew up with a fenced yard, and even if that wasn’t the case, there’s just too many dangers for them to navigate on their own), but honestly, I’m kinda thinking we might push it back a bit. Watson is really owl dinner sized, and this owl has already buzzed family members, so it’s clear he has no regard for humans. Just yesterday he watched me take the boys out and softly hooted from a nearby tree. I have only ever seen this owl from a great distance in the daylight but I know he gets fairly close at night, under the cover of darkness. So I think outside time with the boys will be a two or more person job for the foreseeable future. Safety in numbers maybe, that way we can always have an eye out.
We’ve had some other visitors around the farm too that have made the boys and I varying levels of nervous. There was a lone coyote around, maybe still is, dunno, that was getting a little bold and twice I ended up grabbing dogs and hauling them up on the porch and into the house with a quickness. I don’t know if he’s brave enough to try to steal or take on one of my dogs, but I don’t care to test it. I worry about Cordelia, the chickens, and the horses, but Cordelia spends most of her early mornings safely in the rafters of the equipment shed, the chickens are in the coop at night, and while the mares have run of the arena and corral at night, I am pretty sure my girls would win with a coyote, and I’d hear about it fast enough to get down there in help. Basically, I only worry my citified little canine pack because they don’t know any better and I get the distinct impression they would want to make friends.
We’ve also had a skunk hanging around. You can tell because of the way the farm often smells. Theres enough variety of critters around here that the skunk seems to regularly need to defend itself, or at least announce itself, and while I’ve not laid eyes on a skunk since my first year here (when one walked out from under my car and I called my boss to say I’d be late as I hauled to the house) I have absolutely no doubt this guy exists.
The deer have been more hit or miss but I know they’re around too. You can sometimes see their glowing green eyes in the grass and sometimes they still come down to watch me feed in the evenings. There are still tracks and droppings in my yard and evidence they’ve been snacking occasionally on my hay. So, they clearly don’t feel too threatened.
Well, the hoot owl seems to have chilled out, and I’m thinking it’s about time I started work for the day. Keep an eye out for critters on your morning walk, lemme know if you see anything cool!
Until we chat again my friends!