towards dusk, just after the skies had turned bluer than blue, i watched as the last storm clouds moved over the lake and then, were gone.
owls were written all over the gathering calm of september 29th…i could feel them, could see them. “it was,” i told myself, “going to be a big night.”
so often, over the past 25 years as an owler, i have relied on my hunches to direct efforts that have produced both purposeful…and aimless journeys. “think like an owl”, i tell myself.
mostly, it works.
when an owler feels something visceral, there is a tangible sense that nature’s script is written and free of edits; that you are in on a secret. i have found nests because of those secrets. i have snowshoed for miles during daylight because something told me “this is where the owls will be”, then watched boreal owl courtship unfold without commercial interruption.
those moments are humbling.
when the hunches prove wrong, however, the 3 mile snowshoe produces only severe, inner thigh chafing as its reward.
it’s not quite the same.
like last night, for instance. dusk moved towards dark and my nets were ready. five minutes into the night, it started to rain. hard. i bagged my nets and waited inside, swaddled in two layers of fleece.
i fell into deep sleep. i missed an evening of owls. i was pathetic.
when i awoke, it was too late to set up again and so, i rekindled my sleep, unwilling to test yet another owler’s hunch.
tonight though. well, i’ve got a really good feeling about tonight.
no really. i do.