Featured in Sleeping Creatures Group Oct. 2009
I’d like to be able to say that this little screecher is doing what she’s best known for; unfortunately her beak is gaping in silent suffering. Just when the little girl should typically be getting in some late afternoon snooze time in prep for a busy night to follow, she finds herself in some gastric distress (no worries – she eventually got the fur ball up without further complication). But though her gizzard is in upheaval, she seemed otherwise unperturbed. If fact, now that I consider it, she seemed to be perfectly at ease and possibly even asleep between the occasional gagging effort. Animals demonstrate a huge capacity for acceptance I’ve noticed, whether wild or domesticated, and this one was certainly an exemplar of this.
It may have been around this time that I began to suspect that my experiences seemed to be reflecting back at me something of the quality of what was going on inside me. I recall a time of tumult in the goings on of my life to coincide with this little encounter with a screech owl in distress. But though she had reason to be quite put out with her circumstances, it was pretty much business as usual for her in all other regards. I have to be honest and admit that my life felt pretty much out of control that day. My usual prescription, a retreat with camera into the wilds, had been slow to deliver its healing balm. This time it was not to be fresh air and sunshine amongst the trees that won me over. This time it would be a tiny feathered creature serving to pass wisdom on to me. I’m fortunate in that my activity slowed in taking her picture just long enough for me to notice. I noticed something different and deeper than the suffering, so seemingly apparent on her face. It pointed me in a new direction within. I found the strength to confront and to resolve the turbulence inside me.
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Nikon F5, f4 @1/60, 600 mm/20 mm extension, Fuji Velvia 50, Wimberley head, Gitzo tripod, Great Smoky Mountain National Park