clark's run trail

I live near a wilderness area with two joining creeks in a span of woods.  A scout troop maintains a trail that extends for two or three miles and ends at a nearby grade school elevation point.

There are two owls who inhabit its space.  Some kind soul built a large wooden nest to encourage their presence, but I rarely see them.   My joy is occasionally catching a glimpse or hearing their sounds since they are very illusive.  Sometimes at night I can listen to them from my bedroom window.

It could be that they are barred, horned or snowy owls–all are found in Maryland. Likely, a barred owl because of the sounds I hear.  Maybe another kind(s).  One day I will know.

Here are picture of barred and great horned owls:

barred owlhorned owl


owl field

Mary Oliver, “White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field”

Coming down out of the freezing sky
with its depths of light,
like an angel, or a Buddha with wings,
it was beautiful, and accurate,
striking the snow and whatever was there
with a force that left the imprint
of the tips of its wings — five feet apart —
and the grabbing thrust of its feet,
and the indentation of what had been running
through the white valleys of the snow —
and then it rose, gracefully,
and flew back to the frozen marshes
to lurk there, like a little lighthouse,
in the blue shadows —
so I thought:
maybe death isn’t darkness, after all,
but so much light wrapping itself around us —
as soft as feathers —
that we are instantly weary of looking, and looking,
and shut our eyes, not without amazement,
and let ourselves be carried,
as through the translucence of mica,
to the river that is without the least dapple or shadow,
that is nothing but light — scalding, aortal light —
in which we are washed and washed
out of our bones.

owl in field in snow

The days slowly brighten, but windy, bitter nights have taken hold. When the
wind slows, a profound quiet settles in the forest.  Occasional creaks and cracks
echo in the frozen world, and in the night, the owls call deep in the forest or
just outside my window.  (here)

owl in flightc

Snowy Owl

Out of the great, green, grove of trees,
In the darkness of the night;
The snowy owl came silently by,
A graceful poem in flight.

Out of the shadows of the dark,
When the day is finished and done;
The swift, hurried flight of the owl takes place,
Out on its midnight run.

Out of the great, green, grove of trees,
As fast as any clock can go,
The wings beat hard and fast,
And rustles the fallen snow.

The snowy owl, a prince of a bird,
It’s dominance reigns supreme;
Out of the blackness that covers me,
Out of my thoughts and dreams.

Out of the great, green, grove of trees,
It glides with a mystic wing;
Out of the night that swallows it,
To see it, would make your heart sing.

david lessard


The owl is known for its mystery, magic, vision, and guidance.  It is also one of the most ancient signs for spirit contact.  The Romans thought owls were harbingers of death while the Greeks considered them a positive omen and an owl flying over a Greek army at the dawn of battle insured victory. 

In Celtic lore a beautiful woman named Blodeuwedd was fashioned out of flowers. She was created to marry a lonely man cursed to have no human wife.  Blodeuwedd soon fell in love with another man and killed her husband.  The victim was then brought back to life and, as vengeance, the faithless Blodeuwedd was turned into an owl.

In “Macbeth” Shakespeare uses an owlet’s wing as a charm and Rowling’s Hedwig is Harry’s most faithful friend.  In Winnie the Pooh Owl is the stuffy and esteemed mentor and teacher to the others.  He was not based on a stuffed toy, so he is illustrated as a live animal.

In addition to having magical properties, a owl is thought to be the wisest of birds.