Sunday, October 23, 2011
The Ghost in the Attic is Back
Well, the "Ghost in the attic" is back.
Last spring we had a big owl hang out in the trees in our meadow for a long screechy spring. At some point, we figured out it was an adult that was training a young owl to hunt.
They scarred the shit out of the red squirrels that live in our maple trees, some are as large as small cats. Once the owls showed up, the squirrels split and took to the deep woods until the owls had moved on.
Now, I am very careful about how I deal with owls, giving them respect and space. The reason is, I knew a woman who was studying Native American Religion years ago. She told me to never, never touch a dead owl or even collect their feathers.
Apparently, the owl is not a good totem for a man and handling owl feathers can be detrimental.
I try to follow the natural world closely, and the mysterious nature of owls makes it easy to believe this legend. I've had plenty of interaction with the critters, but from a comfortable distance.
When I would come home in the evening last spring, the big owl would call out to me with an annoying screech. I screeched back. The owl would call to it's young partner and they would sound like ghosts in the attic.
Back in 1980 my friend and I took a year off and built a cabin in the Oregon coast range. His sister and grandfather had been attacked by a Great Horned Owl up there when they were kids, so they can be aggressive.
When we were building the cabin, we had kerosene lamps and a radio we would listen to at night. We hosted about four very small owls for several nights, they lined up on a branch over our camp and watched us for hours. At the same time, a moth that was larger than a man's extended palm attached itself to a tent.
So for now, the owls are back, the squirrels are gone, and we again share the meadow with "ghosts in the attic".