Recently, I saw an owl flying beautifully toward a valley. The owl was in a very odd place, or should I say in a place I wasn’t expecting it. Also, it was in the late afternoon when I got to experience this “majestic” creature.
The sighting caused me to think about many things that are associated with owls. The whole experience kind of caught me by surprise.
There is an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” where Briscoe Darling brings his four sons down from the hills to find brides for them all. Briscoe had just sold a plot of land for $300 and figured he could use the windfall to get his sons married off.
Just as Briscoe is about ready to give up on finding mates for the Darling boys, they see an owl. According to Briscoe’s “Omen of the Owl,” the next woman they see is the predestined bride for one of his boys.
The next woman they happen to see is Helen Crump, the school teacher girlfriend of Andy (Griffith) Taylor. Of course this causes all types of problems. In order to break the omen, the Darlings have to see another owl. Andy gets Goober to tie a rope to a stuffed owl and dangle it from a tree to break the curse and send the Darlings back to the hills. As always, things end up well in Mayberry.
I often dream of sitting on a porch swing in Mayberry watching time go by and waving at folks.
The owl in the valley still had me thinking about all of the things we associate with the bird. Baby owls are “owlets.” A group of owls is most often called a “parliament,” however some folks use bazaar, brood, hooting and stooping to describe a bunch of owls.
This didn’t apply to my experience; I only saw one and he was flying into a valley.
Owls also make me think of Winnie the Pooh and all the stories associated with owls being wise. It seems the ancient Greeks considered them wise and started it all. They associated owls with Athena, their goddess of wisdom.
It seems owls are definitely great hunters who can see and hear incredibly well at night; their wings allow them to fly quietly and sneak up on their prey by surprise. With all this, their “bird brains” are not so hot.
Crows, hawks and parrots are much smarter than owls. It seems that owls do use the little brain power they have to hunt, which is seemingly intelligent. They are not sitting on the sofa watching Andy Griffith reruns or waiting on someone else to bring them food; they are hunting.
OK, so they are not too smart, but they are good hunters who use their limited brain power efficiently.
Various Indian tribes thought the owls had significant meaning. The Apache thought if you dreamed of an owl you were getting close to dying. The Cherokee shamans viewed the owl as a consultant who could bring on sickness as a punishment. The Tlingit Indian warriors put great faith in the owl; they would go wildly into battle hooting like owls to give themselves confidence, and to strike fear into their enemies.
What does all of this mean? I’m not sure…
Owls are interesting creatures and when you see one tattooed on a woman’s chest in the late afternoon at the grocery store “flying into the valley,” it causes you to stop and think about a lot of things.
I have nothing against tattoos, but that owl is either never going to land or will get lost in that valley as the landscape of the mountains changes over time.
Cranks My Tractor
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Tell 27 people you love them today; something good will happen.I'm BN Heard and I like semicolons, dogs and dreaming of sitting on a porch in the mountains listening to bluegrass music in the distance.