October 17, 2006

the owl, the coyote, and the star-crossed procupines

Have I mentioned that there is a Great Horned Owl living on the place? She is so big and so beautiful. Hopefully she'll find a mate and stick around for a few years. Towards evening, she starts to stir, calling and swooping around the yard. Many nights she'll perch on the radio tower, just a few yards from my open window, occasionally ho-ho-hoo hoo hoo -ing as I sleep. Whenever the owl is out, the kitties know to stay hidden. The owl has such an arresting presence - my jaw drops in awe every time I encounter her.

I've also been crossing paths with a coyote lately. I usually see her near the road in the afternoon when I go to get the mail. We both stop and then we'll just sit and look at each other. A couple of times, she was only 8 or 10 feet away. She doesn't seem scared of me, just a little unsure. Once, after a good long stare, she just circled around and laid down in the grass. I try to snap myself out of 'dances with wolves' fantasies, but regardless I consider her a neighbor and feel a bit protective of her.

Driving home late one night last week, I encountered another unexpected neighbor. As I turned over the auto-gate, onto the trailroad, a bushy fluff was bobbing down the road. Once the porcupine heard me coming, her formerly-relaxed needles shot up. I chased her around the pasture for a few minutes, trying to get a good picture. Not having much success, I let her be and headed towards home. But then not a mile down the road, yet another porcupine was wobbling down the trailroad. This guy was about twice as big as the lass by the gate. He was very intent on getting out of the path of my headlights and seemed pretty exasperated in general. In trying - yet again in vain - to get a picture, I managed to chase him off course. Afterwards, I realized that if I hadn't intervened, the two porcupines would've eventually found each other that night. I felt a little bad for thwarting their romantic fate.

And the surprise visitor tonight is...SNOW!!!

1 comment:

Alex Mahan said...

"The owls are not what they seem."