The Eastern Screech Owl and Me
It was a warm and sunny day as I backed my truck up the driveway. I was eager to get in the house so that I could watch a football game that started without me.
I have lived alone in this house for about four years, and I’ve notice that - I notice everything. If something is out of place or if it has been moved, it jumps right out at me.
Here’s why I’m telling you this, as I stepped out of the truck something about a nearby palm tree caught my eye. Something was not right, not normal. Slowly approaching the tree I spotted a beautiful owl perched securely, sheltered by a thick canopy of leaves. He was no more than three feet over my head and he was still as still could be.
Carefully backing away I reached in the truck for my camera. After snapping a dozen or more shots I chanced that he’d stick around long enough for me to fetch a better camera. He kindly waited. The photo on this page came from the second round of shots.
He appears larger than he really was, my guess is that he stood no more than six inches tall. A birder friend identified him as an eastern screech owl. She mentioned that this owl has a “lovely call.”
He hung around until dark, then poof he was gone. I never heard his call but laughingly I wish he’d come back, build a nest and move in. I don’t get many visitors that I care to photograph but this little guy is welcome to stop by anytime.
“Well, it’s a marvelous night for a moondance” ~ Van Morrison
What a crazy night to be a photographer. I packed my gear, tripod and all and set out for a super moon_light adventure.
To get away from Orlando’s city lights, I drove east into rural Sanford. I parked my car in the middle of a familiar pasture that is adjacent to Sanford’s airport. It was a beautifully clear night, in the mid 70’s. I was surrounded only by stillness and amazing light.
I thought I was alone but I wasn’t. While settling in, focusing attention on my camera which was focusing on the moon, I heard and felt the familiar hello of a flock of mosquitos. How nice of them to stop by and invite me to their festive “Moon Dance.”
The enjoyment of making dozens of pictures far outweighed the few bites my buddies left me with. In other words I had a blast!
A humorous note. Upon leaving the site and heading back to civilization, I made a wrong turn ending up on a lonely, back road. With hanging moss shielding the sky, the road grew darker as it became narrower. And as many dark and narrow roads tend to do, it wasn’t long before I reached its dead end. I was greeted in the darkness by two alarmingly yellow, reflective street signs. “Dead End” and “No Outlet.”
Turning my car around, it wasn’t long before I retraced my steps to the on ramp of the interstate. Several miles later I was once again surrounded by the city lights of metro Orlando.
Laughing to myself as I pulled in the driveway, I realized how grateful I am that I don’t have to live on the corner of Dead End and No Outlet.
I’ve stuffed “Stuff” for a long time.
I have a few stories to tell and I better get ‘em out before my imagination changes all the damned facts. I’ll recall details the best I can but do not be surprised if I slip a little fibbing in.
When asked, I tell folks that “I mostly write fiction.” Sometimes when I say that, I here Mom’s voice, echoing from a far better place: ‘Don’t believe him.’ “Donny’s a little liar.”
You might not believe some of the crap that I’ve done, seen or heard about, but check in once in a while. Who knows what will be coming out of this long, darkened soul.