Who Cooks for You?
July 4, 2012 § 3 Comments
I am sitting at my desk upstairs, looking out the window in the dark, just to give my eyes a break from the computer screen, when I see it. The owl is big and fluffy, a barred owl. It swoops down from the wire in front of my house and comes back up with something—I swear it looks like a garter snake—in its mouth. I open the window quietly to try to get a better look. From here, its wingspan looks to be at least four feet. The owl looks at me and eats what definitely is a snake. Its huge eyes are staring directly at me, as if to say, “What?” I want to tell someone, but I’m home alone, for the first time in a long, long time. I’m alone, except for my dog, Annie, who barks at anything, but is uninterested in the owl.
I’ve always taken owls as signs of something, but not of death, like some people do. To me, they’re protectors. They reassure me that someone or something on the other side of the world, or at least in my imagination, is watching out for me.
“What do you think my spirit animal is?” Jack Henry asks. He has been watching an animated tv show (it’s way too serious to be called a cartoon) where everyone has a spirit animal, and depending on whether you like the earth, sky or ocean best, you have dominion over water, air, fire, or earth. “Some kind of fast cat,” I say. He is strong and lithe for a little boy, and I can imagine him running through the jungle. “Maybe a tiger. “
“What’s yours?” he asks. I don’t even think about it. “A turtle,” I say. Jack Henry knows this will be my answer. The slow, ancient looking creatures who hide in their shells and can withstand anything except maybe a fast moving car are my role models. Slow and steady and all that. Distance runners. Survivors who outlast the speedy ones every time.
I wonder who the owls represent. Not really my mom or dad. They’re too quiet and stealthy for that. My mom might have been some kind of frenetic squirrel, my dad some sort of flightless, but stately bird. Which brings me back to the owl. It’s a sign of something. And with a snake in its mouth. Maybe I am protected, or maybe I am just fine here by myself. Maybe I can withstand anything.
The owl is finished eating. I go out on the porch and look up at it in the streetlight. “Who cooks for you?” It asks. “I do,” I answer.