Screech Owl’s Song

Laurelhurst Park. Posted by calpaully on

Laurelhurst Park. Posted by calpaully on

I heard once that it is a beautiful thing to wake up singing. To test one’s vocal chords in that mystery which is the voice, an illustrator for sheet music. Before the sun has peeked over the edge of its nightly slumber, when the moon is till sharp and in focus, this is when you can begin to sing. Or hum, rather, to not disturb the quiet music of the night, the slight, slow exhale of a world breathing deeply in restful sleep…An exhale that also acknowledges the restless rustle of those who are still awake.

When the wind ruffles the pear trees, sing to the moon. Sing to its impermanence; its fickle, false illumination; its masquerade as it steals light from the world that is drunk with light. If you look through the large end of a telescope, you won’t see much. Small, ant-like shapes. It is the same with our big friend in the sky. We can’t see much when we try to look closer.

Western Screech Owl by Cameron Rognan

Western Screech Owl by Cameron Rognan

So instead, let it wash over you, the eerie light of early morning. Hum. Then sing. Move your feet as you wake up to the dance of the day. Listen to your friend in the park down the street, as she sings a mourning morning greeting: the sound of ping pong balls falling slowly on a linoleum floor. Try not to disturb the thick shadows around her as you listen to her hollow, stalwart echo.

She sings to me through my open window as I dress, a declaration of opposites: She announces the triumph of the nightly hunt. I prepare for my day, her song a memory of my dreams. As I slept last night, she did what she does best. Quiet wings and sharp talons.

I hear her as I unlatch my door, the night draped still around me, the moon a lingering dream of the night. It drips from the branches of trees and onto the quiet cracks of concrete. I walk to the dark smudge of trees at the end of the block, seeking her in the high branches. I may never see her, my avian companion, with her feathered face and fierce talons, with her sharp beak and keen eyes. But she probably sees me. She sings me a nightly lullaby as I arrive home with key in hand and wakes me up in song. I hope to always wake up singing.

Screech Owl by Kevin Shank

Screech Owl by Kevin Shank


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