Thursday, July 31, 2008

All Right, That's It! Game Over!

My friend Ole sent out an e-mail the other day about a recent experience of his in Forest Park, which I found nothing short of hysterical (especially the last paragraph). Hence, I give you... "Whacked By an Owl," by Ole Peterson. Enjoy!

Okay, it was a beautiful, warm summer evening, so, as I often do, I went walking on the Wildwood Trail in Forest Park. I’d had a very busy day and my mind was racing, as usual, so I was hoping to get into a nice, slow, nature-inspired groove. I started at the north end of the trail and walked to the first fire lane – about a mile and a half, then made a u-turn to return to my car. I’d had a few quiet moments, but my mind was still all yap-yap-yap when a gray shape buzzed over my head and perched on a branch about twenty feet away. The gray shape morphed into a beautiful owl. I thought “What a wonderful gift – this owl was sent to help me find some inner silence.” I stared for a while as this bird stared right back at me and squawked a squeaky squawk. Robins, towhees, sparrows – they don’t look at you – not for more than a nanosecond, but this bird was making observations and taking notes. It looked me down and up (in that order) and did that circular head motion that they’re fond of doing. I said aloud “Hello, you are beautiful. Thank you for visiting me,” then resumed my stroll back towards my car.

Ten seconds later, I felt wind rushing above me, looked up and saw this creature fly on ahead to the next convenient branch where it perched and resumed its reconnaissance. “Okay, cool” I thought. “I’ve been chosen for something. I wonder if I’ll ever know what it is”. Sometimes you don’t find out. So, not wanting to get too attached to any particular outcome or psyche myself up over some message that might never arrive, I walked on.

I heard a light “whoosh” like air brushing against air (which it was) and felt a slight nudge on the top of my head as this determined avian whizzed gleefully towards the next tree. “Okay, this is getting weird,” said my real self to my ego, which was still preoccupied with “larger meaning”. At this point, I recalled an incident with a grouse back in 1990 in which I naively assumed that this curious bird had friendly intentions, only to narrowly avoid losing my left eye. “Owl,” I said, “I realize you are probably a mother protecting your young who are very close to us right now, so I’m just gonna walk on past you now and leave your forest never to disturb your serenity again.” Not wanting to lose sight of her, I looked back every few paces, mentally prepared to wave my arms, yell, duck, whatever it might take to protect myself from attack. As I turned my head, I once again heard air against air and before I could say “Omigosh, an owl has just whacked me in the head,” she whacked me in the head! I didn’t even see her as it happened. I looked up and there she was again on the next branch glaring at me with animal rage in her beastly eyes.

“All right, that’s it,” I yelled. “Game over!” I ran past her perch and continued on about a hundred paces, stopped, caught my breath and thought, “Why do I love nature? What is this strange fascination?” Conclusions are always difficult for me to draw, but if I had to try, I’d say that a bird in your hair is worth two on a branch. I’d also say this: Whatever the hell it was that had my mind in such a stir when I set out searching for some peace and quiet was long forgotten now.


The Pastry Pirate said...

you have a friend named ole? sounds pretty vikingy... is he single?

thanks (and thanks to ole) for making me, dare i say, hoot with laughter. and tell ole to stop wearing the hat with the fake dead mouse on top.

tommy said...

My faithful compatriot Ole, who could in his youth be most accurately characterized by his twin passions of pillaging and indulging his trusty flask of mead, remains yet possessed of the demeanour of a viking, to be sure... But I'm sorry to report that he is not, as you so lascivioulsy inquest, in a bachelorly way. Ole, he of the Laplandic tundra, was long ago wed to one of his many North Atlantic conquests... a comely lass, torn from the windswept fields of her island peasant folk... a winsome and talented visual artist we've all come to know and love as "Liz."

You should know that Ole cannot be swayed from his devotion to his hard won wench, nor in any case could he be tempted by the festishistic allure of your elevated heels, for Ole has matured into man of formidable strength and piety, fortified by his slavish allegience to the mighty deity Thor.

As to your belittling reference to Ole's "fake dead mouse" hat, the taxidermied Baltic Pygmy Marmot mounted upon Ole's helmet (the helmet itself being traditionally handcrafted by the men of the Peterson clan from the erectile bone of the elusive Northern Tarlick Whale) is a symbol of his family's tribal victory over... Oh, to hell with it, I don't want to belabor the point. Look it up on Wikipedia...

The Pastry Pirate said...

well, poop.