and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise. Isaiah 41:20-21 (NIV)
Remember a few years ago when I was all excited about hosting owls in our yard? At the time, we had heard some little screech owls in the big oaks around our house so I went to a nature festival and bought two owl boxes to provide them homes. Husband and youngest son thought it a ridiculous idea, but knowing which side their bread was buttered upon, hauled out the largest ladder we have and obligingly climbed up into the tree to anchor the houses among the limbs. Not too low, not to protected, in the curve of a branch slanted downward to prevent rain from pooling inside. And we waited and we watched. Then, we got tired of waiting and moved on to other interests. About six months later, youngest son noticed a swarm of bees plastered to the outside of one of the boxes. Rather than attracting owls, the box was full of bees that had turned it into their hive. My friend, Bethany, who is also my horse trainer and is also a master gardener, chicken raiser and bee keeper came over put on her bee keeper suit and hat with veil, threw a blanket over the box and tried to bring it down. It was fastened so tight to the tree that she ended up prying it off, in the process dropping it to the ground where it split open to reveal wax and honey. She recovered it all, and took it home where she moved the bees that were left into her hives and rendered the honey. She also recommended we take down the other house to keep the bees from relocating to it. So, there went my dreams of owl farming. A few months ago, I went out to the barn one evening to let the horses out and was startled by a large shape flying from the oak tree near the barn. A loud whooshing sound felt like it was coming right t me. I figured out it was a bird and not my initial thought of a vampire. The next day, I heard a squealing sound coming from a tree on the other side of the pasture and found two owls in the process of killing their breakfast. Whatever they had made a horrific noise, but it was not enough to take away my delight at finding not one, but two Barred owls making their home near the barn. We eagerly watch their activities, morning and evening hunting forays, and at times catch them sitting on one of the tall water sprinklers or fence posts. I like to talk to them when I find them in a tree as they look down upon me and crook their heads as the dogs prance below. We hear them in the trees around the house calling, “Who cooks for you?” And I wonder if it is the female reminding her husband he better come home with something good. We are in hopes that we will see babies soon, though our squirrel population is already dwindling. Sometimes, I wonder how owls got their reputation as being wise. I wonder if it is because they are singularly focused on their task always keeping site of what is important and never trying to multitask like we humans do. I have been very busy at home, at church and at work lately and feel like I am not doing anything well. Perhaps like the owl, I need to keep my eyes on what is truly important and let the rest go.