Weather Report

Yesterday, Monday, day and night, we had storms — a few brief blizzards and gale force winds. Today on our walk, we happened on this sad story. Sad to me, anyway. In the grand scheme (which is where our walk was taking place) it’s just a dead owl. It’s even possible (but not likely) that it wasn’t a dead owl, but an owl playing dead over its prey. These owls — great horned owls — do this and, as Dusty reached it a second or two before Bear and I reached it, it’s possible.

And I thought, “To me this is sad. I don’t want this owl to be dead, but nothing around me cares at ALL except Dusty and Bear and THEY are just curious to know if it’s edible.”

Once upon a time I collected feathers. I once found a red-tail hawk that had been thrown against a hill by the wind and then eaten by coyotes. I brought home his wings. I’m not that person now. I don’t want souvenirs from nature any more. My mind is so full of those souvenirs that objects are meaningless — besides, the owl was beautiful and pristine lying beside the chamisa in the winter grass. Someone will eat him; it could even be another owl.

Seconds before I encountered the dead owl, I watched and listened to a dozen Sandhill Cranes lift into flight just a few feet in front of me.

All around it is early spring in the San Luis Valley — well, pre-spring in the San Luis Valley. Pre-spring has arrived a few weeks early. My crocus are blooming a week early, the Sandhill cranes have arrived in full force, and the Rio Grande Wildlife Refuge has closed about three weeks ahead of normal to allow the birds — water birds and bald eagles — to nest.

Wind in the San Juans


14 thoughts on “Weather Report

  1. That’s sad if the owl was really dead — but very adaptive if it was simply playing dead! Otherwise, your pre-spring sounds lovely! I’m glad they close the reserve to allow the birds to nest — good conservation measure.

    • I’m pretty sure he was really dead. 😦 Pre-spring is wild! We get Santa Ana type winds from two directions sometimes at the same time, but I like it a lot. I agree about the birds. I noticed the last time I was there (last week) that there were a LOT of geese and it’s mainly their hatchery. The wildlife area opens on July 15 and I’m going to try to time my hip surgery so I can get back when it opens again or soon after. Kind of like a carrot on a stick.

      • We’ve had stronger winds recently that I remember for quite a while — some pretty warm, and then the next day cold (for us)! That sounds like a great idea to time that surgery so you will have the wildlife area to entice you to get out and walk! Good luck on doing that!

      • Had a skin cancer removed from my nose today — MOHS procedure, which takes a LOT of time, but not much pain. Healing will be interesting — she had to do a skin graft to close it! The eye procedure is a second step after cataract surgery — one eye done with an easy laser procedure, second one more complicated to correct astigmatism. That comes up in a month or so. Minor things compared to your hip, but I’ll be glad when it’s all done!

      • It’s a drag. I had MOHS on my cheek and, fortunately, four microscopic stitches took care of closing it. Good luck with the eye surgery. It’s a little creepy thinking of people working on your eyes, but the procedures are amazing. ❀

  2. “I don’t want souvenirs from nature any more.” don’t know why but i was particularly touched by this sentence. The whole piece, too, but this sentence more than any other.

  3. I also like that line and like you I would once take a feather. But recently I think of the violence that was attached to it, even though it was a natural act and cannot even contemplate it.
    Every once in a while, here in the DC suburbs, I will hear a barred owl. I haven’t seen him/her, but I love knowing that they are there.

    • I know what you mean. In winter there are two great horned owls who hunt from a tree in my neighbor’s yard. I am so grateful to them for the good work they do controlling mice. And, I love them for themselves. ❀

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