Yesterday I walked out the back door at 5:00 a.m. and the heat slapped me in the face.  It was 93 degrees and the sun hadn’t shown itself yet. I leashed up the dogs and we headed out in the pre-dawn light. The walk was like an obscene phone call – lots of heavy breathing and tongues hanging out. The heat pulled at us and we all walked with our heads down. The sun topped the mountain on our return and the first ray to hit my face was merciless, confirming the weatherman’s prediction of over 110.  In my early twenties I had a bout of heat exhaustion, since then, my body rebels if I over exert when the mercury climbs above 95.  My planned 16 mile bike ride was out and there would be no long walk to the coffee shop.  My expectations for the day withered like the heat stroked squash plants in my garden.

Back home, I settled in front of the computer until Chris, one of Tom’s workers, tapped on the glass of the patio door and crooked his finger.  “Come see the owl”.  I followed him down to where the garden edges up to the greenhouse.  A couple of the crew were clearing out a dead jojoba and trimming the remaining trees.  Chris pointed up.  In the tangle of branches and leaves, an owl perched, surveying the work going on below him. He was a tiny thing, less than a foot in height, but impressive despite his small stature. He blinked those great yellow eyes. Ohh!  The sudden movement surprised me! Everyone snapped photos and I wondered if the owl realized that his presence caused a mini-work stoppage. We were all enthralled. Throughout the next half hour he stayed in his spot supervising the work below. After the crew finished and things quieted down, I walked back out.  Owl was still there. He blinked his eyes at me. I took one step to the side and his head swiveled; those yellow eyes tracked my every movement.  His presence had caused quite a stir, yet he was unruffled. You deserve some peace, I said and left him alone. 

Later that day, Tom walked out to the outdoor shower to rinse off the day’s sweat. He shouted, Owl! I ran over and there was the owl regally perched in the ironwood tree. The doves, finches, and thrashers were quite unhappy to have a predator in their midst.  They flew and chattered at the owl but he was unmoved. Only that great head turned from side to side as he considered his choices for his evening meal. The thought of him possibly killing a songbird disturbed me, so I sent him thoughts of mice and pack rats hoping he’d take my advice and consider them better fare.

Out here in the Sonoran Desert, we coexist with coyotes, javelinas, and roadrunners. Quail gambol about, hawks soar, and the occasional mountain lion lopes through. While I stop and watch the wildlife, I have to admit sometimes I take it for granted. I’ve become used to the coyote lapping at our water fountain in the yard and quickly side step any rattler that slithers through. Owl, in all his extraordinary beauty, renewed my appreciation for the life humming around me.  He reminded me that all too often I get caught up in my expectations, those things of relatively little consequence and miss what’s important. If I’d taken that bike ride, or that walk, I might have missed Owl’s visit.  I might have missed seeing the blink of those yellow eyes, the easy turn of his head. I tend to delve inward, spinning and sorting the thoughts in my head, and when I do, it’s like donning a pair of blinders. My own thoughts obscure what’s happening around me. If I’d have missed seeing Owl, I’d have regretted that much more than missing a bike ride.

This morning I ran out to check on Owl’s whereabouts but he was gone. Tom thinks he’ll be back since so many critters call our gardens home. The dogs danced around me, eager for our morning walk and, as we headed out, the heat again dragged our feet. The dogs still trotted along, heads down and panting, but this time I shoved my expectations for the day to the back of my mind and remained fully alert, scanning the desert for whatever might come my way.  





  1. Comment by Tina

    Posted on October 12, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Thanks for finally writing about > Breath of Blue » Blog Archive » Owl < Loved it!

  2. Comment by Tina

    Posted on October 12, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Thanks for finally writing about > Breath of Blue » Blog Archive » Owl < Loved it!

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