January 4, 2013

Happy Friday!  Today's question of the day is......WHOOO is keeping me awake all night long?! 

The Night Owl and Harvest Moon Photograph - The Night Owl and Harvest Moon Fine Art Print - Wingsdomain Art and Photography

On the night before New Year's Eve, my husband rolled over about 3 in the morning and whispered "do you hear something?"  As a matter of fact, I did, and so, the ever vigilant mother, I stumbled from my warm bed and went to each bedroom, ear up against the door, listening for the odd sounds I couldn't quite place.  Daughter's bedroom...all was quiet.  Son #2 bedroom...all was quiet.  Son #3 bedroom...all was quiet. (Son #1 is married, or I would have been listening at his door too!).  Checked the dog kennel...Willow was quiet, although definitely awake and wondering what I was doing creeping around in the middle of the night.

And then...there it was again!  Whoo hoo........whoo hoo.......whoo hoo.  An owl!  I rushed to my bathroom window, which overlooks my backyard and our beautiful row of arbor vitaes, and cranked open the window.  And yes, there it was, drifting on the night air, the beautiful and plaintive cry of an owl.  That night it was magical.  New Year's Eve, still a little mystical and other-worldly.  After that, it's become downright annoying--doesn't he have anything better to do than hoot all night and keep me awake?!

Last night, as I was lying in bed tossing and turning and wishing the owl would take a long vacation and visit someone else's trees, I thought of the poem below that I read a few years ago by one of my favorite Midwest poets, Ted Kooser.  Ted Kooser has served two terms as U.S. Poet Laureate and won a Pulitzer prize for his book of poems "Delights and Shadows".  My personal favorite is his 1976 poetry collection "Not Coming to be Barked At."  I love the beautiful way he has with words and the way he can paint a picture with just a few well chosen words.  I hope you enjoy the poem below.  And I hope that my resident owl finds a new perch soon.

Screech Owl
by Ted Kooser

All night each reedy whinny
from a bird no bigger than a heart 
flies out of a tall black pine 
and, in a breath, is taken away 
by the stars. Yet, with small hope 
from the center of darkness 
it calls out again and again.


  1. I love owls. My sister considers them a sign of luck and she loves it when they appear in her Florida backyard. We had some screech owls here for a while and I loved hearing their whinny. One night, Don and I sat on the porch and one landed on the branch of the maple and stared right into my eyes. Heaven!


  2. This is definitely the time of year that I hear the wonderful hoot of the owl. Every year in January, where I live, we hear many owls because this is the time of year that they nest. I love that sound!