Friday, February 1, 2013

Prompt: Owl in the Window

Every night before I go to bed, I turn off my bedroom light and look out the window to the street below. I’m a night owl, so this is usually long after the neighborhood has become still and quiet. One summer night I saw a fox calmly padding down the street, as if he belonged there. I’ve never seen him again.

But usually, there’s nothing there. I look left and right along the street, around and to the woods past the house across from ours. Then I close the blinds and climb in bed.

Tonight, I looked out and almost jumped out of my skin. There were two round, yellow eyes staring back at me! Even as I recoiled, I realized they were animal, not human—and I’m on the second floor—so I managed not to startle it in return. I reached for the blinds drawstring in slow motion and ever so cautiously opened them for a better look.

A magnificent great horned owl perched calmly on the front porch roof, resting right in front of my window. I guessed it was fully grown, standing about two feet tall. I recognized the distinctive ruff around its face and its long tufted ears. Its yellow eyes stared placidly at my window, and I swear it was staring right at me. Maybe there was enough light from the streetlamp to keep me hidden in reflection, because it didn’t even blink at my appearance. I examined it as closely as I could for several minutes, before it turned its head back toward the street and tucked its beak onto its chest. Was it sleeping there? I could hardly believe my luck. I don’t know how long I stood there watching it, but it didn’t move again. Finally, my tired body demanded sleep. In the morning, it was gone.

The next night, I left the blind up so I would have a better view if it returned, and I kept all the lights off in my room, so nothing would startle it away. I started checking around ten o’clock, but there was no sign of it. I climbed up and down the stairs about every fifteen minutes in my excitement, but my energy dwindled as I approached the empty window again and again. I finally headed for bed about two o’clock, and there it was. I watched it again for awhile, but in truth, without motion, it wasn’t all that interesting, other than the thrill of simply having it there.

From that point, it was my regular overnight companion. I never saw its approach, no matter how I tried. I sat by the window for long stretches, and in the two-minute bathroom break my body demanded, it would settle in for the night. It was always gone before the sun rose.

One night, I came up to find my cat sitting by the window. I worried the cat would scare the owl away, but they each sat motionless, calmly staring at each other. I would often come up to bed and find them there, as if they were keeping company. Were they somehow communicating? I felt a twinge of jealousy. This was my owl. What a thought.

Dogs in house:
Houdini, Brindle, Bacon

Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks

February word count:

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