Thursday, September 8, 2005

Let me tell you about my latest wildlife encounter. Since I’ve moved to Snyder I’ve encountered antelope, jack rabbits, deer, and hawks, but this latest encounter was maybe the best one in my life. There is a state wildlife area near Snyder just on the other side of the river and last Tuesday I finally got around to stopping there and taking a walk down to the river. I had to walk back through the tall grass maybe a quarter of a mile to the river. I came out on the riverbank, which stands maybe ten or fifteen feet above the water, and looked out across the water. When I turned my head to look down the river there, sitting on a log no more than thirty feet away from me, was a beautiful great horned owl. It was huge and was looking at me with its great round yellow eyes. To watch it blink was indescribable.There was such an impression of consciousness, of meeting up with a great old soul.
We shared the space for several minutes, both of us totally relaxed and accepting of one another’s presence. The owl would turn his head away from me for awhile to scan the waters, and I would turn away to take in the scenery. I loved the nonchalant way he would turn his head away from me, slowly closing his eyes as he did, in the same aloof way a cat might. After a few minutes, and a final look at me, he shifted his body to face the river, lifting and repositioning his incredible huge talons. And then he took off over the river, silently and gracefully flapping his enormous wings. I watched him disappear into the woods on the other side, then briefly caught a magical glimpse of him flying parallel to the river back in amongst the trees.

My words will probably not do justice to the awesomeness of the experience. Part of what made it so amazing was the way I instantly felt accepted, as if the owl recognized I belonged there just as much as he did--the way we stood side by side, albeit thirty feet apart, like we were equals. I almost might say it felt a little like we recognized each other, like maybe we’ve met some time before. I did what I always do when I have a meaningful encounter with another being—I sent it the silent message “Remember who you are, remember your true identity.” (Although part of me feels he could already be fully enlightened or at least very, very close to it.) What a powerful old soul was he (or she)! I feel very blessed and lucky to have met up with this owl. It felt like it was meant to happen. I don’t know exactly what the odds are of meeting up with one of these nocturnal creatures at 1:00 in the afternoon but I’d bet it’s fairly rare (although I was probably interrupting his nap).
Later I looked up on the Internet what the owl is supposed to symbolically represent. In some traditions, particularly in the Apache tradition, the owl represents death, and seeing one is to be feared because it portends the death of someone you know. Most other traditions, including most other Native American ones, had more positive interpretations and they tended to be similar. Owls represent clairvoyance and clairaudience and the ability to see people clearly through all of their facades, to see them as they truly are. Owls can also represent new beginnings. On one website it listed what they called birth totems, kind of similar to your sun sign in astrology. It turns out that my birth totem is the owl. How interesting than I am at times clairvoyant and clairaudient and that, for the past few years at least, I've been aware that I read people energetically with great accuracy. Even if my encounter has no symbolic meaning whatsoever I will treasure my memory of it forever.

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