At midnight an owl swooped right behind me along my way home in the swamp of North Florida. It glided from the brush on my right to to silently snatch a morsel a few feet to my left. Caught by surprise, I spun to catch sight of it only to see the shadows and ruffled leaves.
For a moment, I could see the events through Mr. Owl’s eyes.
Rodent rummaging in the plastic scraps of yesterdays trash pickup, it’s exposed – but jumpy. My perch in the cover of the tree keeps the moonlight from making lighthouses of my eyes. Angling my wings forward for the descent, my talons sit loose on the branches. Situation. Two humans approach, walking between me and dinner. Rodent perks up to see the ruckus, readying to flee. Additional risk assessed; launch. Steady wings lean through the wind. Dodge human, narrowly. Kill confirmed.
I should probably host the next season of Planet Earth.
What strikes me the most about my encounter with Mr. Owl was the level of focus required to make the judgement call he did. I’m assuming he passed so close behind me because it was the absolute fastest he could assure his kill. Mistiming his launch from the branch would have meant an unpleasant collision with a human, yet he calculated it to inches.
There’s some kind of takeaway from this about inspiration from animal design and the power of focus. I’m a little too sleepy to express that takeaway concisely. For now I’m content to say: Goodnight Mr. Owl.
Dream On Little Dreamers,