Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Owl

There I was, happy with all the writing projects underway, and the one or two planned out but not yet begun. And then this owl had other ideas.

My daughter and I were rounding a sharp curve here in the Blue Ridge Mountains (which is how we spend most of our driving time), and this majestic barred owl swooped straight toward the car and settled about 20 feet away on one of those rickety wooden chutes through which farmers load their cattle. It calmly looked through the window straight at us, with none of the weird head twisting you usually get with owls. This was broad daylight, about four in the afternoon, when all self-respecting owls should be storing up for a night of rodent slaughter, hooting, and mayhem.

I know from Appalachian folklore that an owl perched on your window in daytime is a sign of impending death. This, of course, is not a good thing. But since it wasn't actually at my house, and wasn't actually perched on the windowsill, my spiritual consultants agree that I probably am not marked for imminent demise. Still, it made me wonder...and from such comes a novel idea.

I believe in synchronicity, serendipity, and the signs that enter our lives. Sometimes they are silly, sometimes they may mean "wake up," sometimes they might just be animals thrust out of their usual patterns to reveal the random connectedness of the universe and our humble place in it.

Maybe I should resent the owl. Its stolid equanimity was startling enough, and it did have a weird face. In various cultures, it's a sign of wisdom, secret knowledge, clairvoyance, and change (and as a keeper of souls traveling from one plane to another, whether that means planes of mortality or planes of awareness or consciousness). So I embrace and honor the owl, despite the six months of work it has visited upon me.

It's hard to be the world's laziest hack when all these wonderful miracles keep floating into my life and inspiring me to explore a little deeper. Quoted from "The Charge of the Write Brigade": Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die...but not until the novel's finished.


1 comment:

Tipper said...

I had the exact same experience-except the owl (biggest one I ever saw) landed in a tree and just stared through the car window at my niece and I. Made me think of the Andy Griffith show-where if you see an owl in daylight you've got to marry the person your with-I believe it was Andy and Charlene.

Just stumbled onto your site-I'm looking forward to reading your books.