|Barred owl - Travis Piland photo|
"...Nature has always something rare to show us..."
~John Muir, A Wind-Storm in the Forests
Although John Muir was specifically speaking of wind storms in that quote, it is true that in any situation, there is always something rare, something special, something beautiful to be discovered in the natural world around us, if only we take the time to look. It might be a flower blooming along a trail, the sound of raindrops dripping from leaves, a colorful sunset, or a glimpse of oft-elusive wildlife with which we share this home of ours.
My husband captured this wonderful photo of a barred owl last summer. He was working in the woods - on a trail or pipeline, I can't recall - and then happened to notice this owl perched just overhead, silently watching as he worked. What an awesome sight. Really, it is a rare opportunity to get an up-close look at an owl in the wild... how many of us have been so lucky, especially to stumble across one when we weren't even trying?
Although I was delighted to see this photo when my husband showed it to me, I will admit that I was very jealous! I've often heard the soft hooting of an owl sounding across the open pastures at the barn where I keep my horse, but I've never seen the owl itself. Shoveling out the horse stalls in the evenings, my work will suddenly be interrupted by this gentle voice, calling my attention outward to the expansive darkness, the distant treeline, the wide open night sky alive with tremulous starlight. Hoo hoooo... I'm here, I'm here... just the sound of these calls is a rare, special, beautiful discovery.
A local news station featured a story earlier this week about a rare pygmy owl sighting in my own Snoqualmie Valley. Yet another "something rare" that nature has to show us.
What unexpected and beautiful things has nature shown you? Feel free to share in the comments below!