Moon Owl

Owl of the Snow Moon,

Your feathers have fallen in quiet blessings.

I stand in the soft light of a thousand moonbeams as your spirit takes flight.

I ache for your song.

 ~mh

Just over a week ago, I got a call from both my aunt and my mom. An owl had fallen dead in my aunt’s yard.

I headed over with my six year old son, field guides in hand, ready to identify the species and for the chance to see a predatory bird up close, something you don’t exactly get to do every day. I asked my son if he wanted to see an owl up close, but that it had died. He was okay with it, so we continued on, not sure what to expect.

Carefully removing and cleaning feathers.

Its death was a mystery, there was only a little blood on one leg, we think we might have seen a puncture wound, perhaps a rattlesnake bite, but we couldn’t be sure. The blood may have come from falling, or prey, or? Nothing felt broken or out of sorts. It had fallen from the  roof, that much we could tell.

I was taken back by the emotion that came with seeing this magical creature with his light gone. We recognized it as Great Horned Owl and, even in death, this bird was remarkable. Just being there in its presence was a reverent experience.

My aunt gently cut and cleaned a few of its beautiful feathers for each family member to keep. It was a difficult decision for my little guy, which feather to choosingfeathers.jpgtake home, because they were all so pretty. We thanked the owl for its feather gifts and then went with my mom and aunt to collect some sage. My uncle began digging a small grave. My son asked if he could place the quartz rock he found in with the owl during the burial.

So there we were, five of us standing around a deep, yet small grave site, offering our quartz rock, our prayers, our thoughts, our quiet thanks for blessing our lives in such an unexpected, yet profound way, and our handfuls of dirt, each an effort to honor this owl’s life. Then my son asked if we could please draw a picture in the dirt on top of it…including my aunt’s dog, who he wanted to have her paw print in the dirt over the owl. She wouldn’t cooperate, so he jefferyfeather.jpgdrew one instead. We stood back for one more farewell and admired our little earthen intaglios marking the owl’s final, physical resting place.

I was very thankful to my aunt and uncle that we could be a part of this special experience, burying this fellow creature…all of this happening on the day of the full moon. On the drive home my son and I recited many, many “Om mani padme hum’s” along with more thanks for the owl who blessed us during the full moon. The feather’s from our owl bathed in the moonlight on our dash.

grave.jpg

Below are images of  “our” full moon Owl and information about owls that we learned more about, after getting to see one so close up.

majestic.jpg

anatomy.jpg

talons.jpg

hornypads.jpg

feathers.jpg

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This entry was published on March 8, 2013 at 12:03 AM. It’s filed under Poetry and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

10 thoughts on “Moon Owl

  1. wonderful story, and lovely new blog format Michelle..many blessings Krista

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    • Thank you Krista! I’m intrigued by your Facebook note about the hawk on Winter Solstice, amazing…

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      • David Salvatierra on said:

        I’m sorry so much goes public so often. For me, it was a very sensative and private time that is now a blog. Uncle David

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      • Hi Uncle David,

        I’m so glad you took time to share your thoughts here. I wanted to address them here as well. I was saddened to realize you were bothered by my sharing of this profound experience in this way. The whole experience of the owl has continued to stay with me (as I imagine you too), and I was so very grateful to both you and Auntie for inviting us (especially Jeffery) to be there to honor such a beautiful creature—and in such a thoughtful way, as it truly deserved.

        I realize this was a personal experience for each of us, ending in a private ceremony. This owl inspired me in many ways, including writing (like the poem in the post too) which is one of the ways I am most comfortable expressing myself.

        My intention was to write about it in a respectful way, showing the reverence I felt (and continue to feel) during that day, and any time I think about this owl. I wanted to share my own feelings and gratitude for this unique happening. I was not intending to take away the veneration I felt during the afternoon, or to be insensitive to your or anyone else’s personal respects, but rather share the impact of a profound experience that I thought was so beautifully created by you and auntie.

        I do share personal things on my blog in an effort to show where life can offer unexpected inspiration and gratitude…things I feel should be given attention, or celebrated, honored, as I travel along an ever-evolving path. I’m finding that I’m growing to be more honest with myself, particularly through writing posts like these—my way of journaling—and my desire is to write with deeper expression. (Chosing to do it in a public, albeit a tiny little following, is my way of opening myself up to creative challenges and critique—the good and bad—a valuable opportunity for growth, for me.) But I am not out to offend or hurt someone directly, especially my family that I love—it is the farthest thing I would ever intend on doing through my writing.

        It was a shared experience and I very much tried to write with the awe and respect of that afternoon, and within the perspective or personal space of just my (and Jeffery’s) experience. I apologize for the way I evoked a feeling of intrusion, or being insensitive in taking something private for you and sharing it in a public forum. I hadn’t seen it that way, and for that I am sorry—it is a valuable lesson for me to be more mindful of in the future.

        xoxoxo

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      • Mike Zonta on said:

        Nicely written, Michelle.

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  2. Did it have some sort of relevance in your life other than the death of a great bird?

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    • Hi Mike, it has certainly stayed with me. But, yes, I have to say the experience on that day invited much personal reflection for me, initially relating it to the decision and wisdom of following through with changes toward a healthier lifestyle (finally), and also the move to real office space (vs. home office). Two big changes, two things I’ve been private or “silent” about for a very long time, and now going public–striking independence and following my gut. The owl made me think of the death of old habits and fears that keep me from my own flight 🙂 It also made me feel on the right path regarding my alternative approach to spirituality, via creativity & intuition.

      While looking up OWL I found these attributes that many cultures have associated the with the owl:

      intelligence, brilliance, wisdom, power, knowledge, intuition, messages, mysticism, mystery, unconscious, silent observation, independence, protection, bravery, transition, longevity, reincarnation.

      It could be interesting to see how owl keeps influencing me! Thank you for asking…I didn’t realize I’d have so much to say about it LOL Have you ever experienced an animal encounter that stayed with you? Or offered support or guidance in some way like that?

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      • Mike Zonta on said:

        Yes, guidance. Don’t know how it happens, but often the appearance of animals like hawks, snakes and even sometimes dogs and cats has meaning for me.

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  3. Laura on said:

    As one who was there with you sharing that experience, you certainly captured the beauty and reverance of the moment. I, too, was deeply moved looking into the still yellow eyes of that beautiful Great Horned Owl. I notice that I am seeing owls everywhere now….Certainly I hear the one near my yard as always, but now I see owl statutes in stores, photos in magazines, owls on cards, just everywhere. Perhaps to keep me in rememberance of the ultimate gift that owl bestowed on all of us there that day in my sister’s yard.

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