I still remember the first time I encountered a barn owl. It was a sleepless night in Southern California. I walked outside the house barefoot and walked towards the closest streetlight. I’m not sure why. I found the moon and then walked into the grass. I got close to the large palm tree in the neighbors yard and from within its branches came the most abrasive screech.
And it took off. With not even a whisper.
I couldn’t think of anything to say which was convenient because barn owls don’t speak much English.
Some eight years later that sound brings me so much delight to hear. It only rings in to me in the dead of night. My on going soundtrack to living. Through the window in Oakland or a quiet neighborhood in Berkeley. It’s like a letter in the mailbox from that friend you have that’s always traveling. Or like hearing a song that you listened to once with someone special who later drifted away for one reason or another. So many roads since then.
They still show up though when we break out the paint.
This Barn Owl is a melanistic variation. It has excessive pigments in the feathers making it darker. This occurs in many species in the animal kingdom, not just in birds. The first Barn Owl I saw was not a Black Barn Owl, but rather a white one as is usually the case. Black Barn Owls dont survive well in the wild as they don’t blend in. No camo, no cover.
Thank you for joining me in looking at the wealth of amazing birds around us.
Learn, Love, Respect, and Protect.
Every day is Earth day, and every day is a good day to draw a bird.
She called me on the phone to tell me about children’s puzzles.
Connect the dots and word searches till dawn.
I called her back to convey the illustrations necessary for the book she planned to write.
The editor sent back my drawings with red pen marks in the margins.
A usual sight when seated next to me in the car with shaky wheels like my life here on the west coast.
No matter its criticism taken in my usual cool mannered stride.
See it through to next week and no matter with the rest.
She sits back down at the piano and I at the drawing table ours one in the same.
Bring it all right back home
In the pouring rain.
We cooked hotdogs on the coals of the bridge we lit up the night before. I ain’t much for ballpark franks but that was a beautiful morning.
It was my turn to go fetch the water from the river. And I did so with a smile. Laughing about the absurdity of the year.
The sun sat golden in the branches like a glowing vulture feasting on dawn.
I don’t know what else I can tell you about that day. It was good.
Last night while riding my bike down Telegraph in Oakland I looked up and saw an absolutely giant shooting star. I thought somewhere in the back of my mind I was forgoing moments like that by moving to a big city. It was a nice reminder that not all is as it seems and indeed once in a while you can get shown an actual light in the strangest of places.