I wake up early, push my tousled hair out of my face and shuffle, bleary-eyed, to the window. I peep through the curtains, open the window a smidge and let my hand dangle in the fresh morning air. I smile at the beautiful day.
Then I get an urge, a yearning, a desire; not for now, for later. I want to feel the cool night air on my face, I want to stare at the moon, gaze at the stars and be swept up in this beautiful days shadowy cloak; the one she throws on every evening to hide her light.
I want to lose myself in the darkness, find my quiet and wait for the first fluting call of the owl. Where this desire has come from I don’t know. Perhaps I was dreaming of enchanted forests, wild moorlands and mythical, winged creatures; perhaps I myself was learning to fly in my subconscious state. I’ll never know because just when I think I’ve remembered my dreams and I try to get hold of them, they shift and fade, disappearing from my grasp like the gossamer threads of a spiders web.
So I leave suburbia behind staring at my tail lights and head into the inky blackness of the countryside. I’m captivated by the bare trees silhouetted against the moonlit sky. They appear to have been etched into the landscape by a master illustrator whose attention to detail includes the clipped hedgerows, long brambles and tufted grasses that define my world tonight.
I perch on an old wooden fence and take a deep lungful of fresh night air; it’s like pure oxygen to me and I smile at the night.
As I sit and wait for the hooting call that must surely come my mind wanders to the last time I found myself sitting here, alone. A glib remark, a throw away comment had turned a good day bad. A thoughtless act had ruined what should have been a momentous evening filled with hope and promise; I felt my heart break that day.
So I went to my secret place and I cried until I had no more tears to cry. I cried until my body was so exhausted I could barely take another breath. I cried myself numb. And just as I was about to head home I heard a sound.
It was the Owls calling.
The first deep clear ‘hoo-hoo-hooo’ resounded through the night air and stopped me in my tracks. I felt a tingle, a thrill, a shiver of excitement. I heard an owl! Then came the response, a higher pitched ‘ke-wick hoo-hoo’ and I was utterly mesmerised.
‘Ke-wick Ke-wick hoo-hoo- hoo’
I sat silently, willing these beautiful birds to take flight so I could watch them swoop and glide in the moonlight. But these wise sages were staying put and so did I. I listened to their pillow talk until I could breathe deeply once more and return home. They held my heart together that night.
And now that I have returned to the same spot I fear I am heading for disappointment. I sit and wait to no avail. All I hear is the sound of silence, there is not a hoot, a call, a snuffle or a grunt; the world is sleeping. I came out to find a little magic, a little adventure and I was going to go home disappointed. So I head back to my car, start up the engine, switch on the lights and that’s when it happened. Gliding silently, wings out stretched an owl, an owl swooped across my line of vision and slowly drifted into the trees beyond. It was a truly magical moment, I felt so blessed and yes, it didn’t half make me smile!