Sunday, 8 March 2015

The Owls


The owls announced it first, twitting and quavering back and forth across the valley to each other. Engrossed in my task of chopping wood I hadn't even noticed, but they prompted me to look up and register the oncoming twilight.

The sun dropped behind the hill and daylight gradually drained away into the west. As I stacked the logs and put away the axe, I listened to the birds singing the sun to bed, the rooks gossiping as they settled in the rookery for the night, the owls greeting each other in the gloaming.

I listened intently to the sounds of oncoming night, smelled the woodsmoke on the breeze, watched the darkening sky.

As a last, tardy wren flitted to her roost, the stars appeared: first bright Venus following the sun, then more and more pinpoints of light like tiny guiding lanterns. Orion was completely visible by the time the birds finally fell silent.

I shut the chickens away and walked back to the house, the comforting glow of light in the porch beckoning me in.

Good hunting, owls.

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