Barred Owl · Ledges Trail

Barred Owl Rhapsody

by Courtney Noster

I met your essence first 
next to the pond
nestled in between the winding vine and that tree.

It was surprising when I saw it.
Warmth veined across my soma.
I reached to touch your banded feather 
suspended there, deliberately it seemed. 

All at once in that moment, 
nature communing,
I was totally in love.
Caressed by the downy 
of the winged-sublime,

your feather
my skin


Lifetimes of our acquaintance remembered 
that early spring day.

I learned you next by sound
in the language of vibration
echoing from the hollows where you live.

I heard you calling in a lover’s song
a courtship duet across the creek.
While lake waves murmured in the distance 
you were caterwauling with another,
crooning to the moon.
Your sounds were wild and playful, monkey-like
and I heard you wondering who’s cookin’ for who.

Serenaded by your forest vernacular, 
I listened carefully 
with ears as wide open as 
your obsidian eyes.

Just as the sailor is evolved by the siren’s song 
I was different when you stopped singing,
and I wondered when we’d meet again?

Until that sunny day in January
against a periwinkle sky.
When I finally came to know you again, by sight.

There you were sitting earnestly
in the center, a singing hollow 
in an old Sycamore tree.
Gently atop of it all 
in the middle of the crown spread 
while crystal sunlight basked you 
outlining your rounded head. 
You were a vision 
amongst the gleaming white, mottled branches
with which you effortlessly merged.

Even from far away, on the ground
I could see your steady ways.
Your head swishing softly one direction to the next
and I wondered what you could see.
Wondered if you saw me.

I stood quietly, dried leaves underfoot, in your presence until
an adoring observer with a long lens noticed me
noticing you.
She took your picture and showed me your features up close.
Your yellow beak and winking eye I’ll never forget.
Our spiritual acquaintance was forged.

That photo now adorns my nest, the place I call home
everytime I see it 
I say thank you, gentle sentinel of the forest
for all the ways you are love.





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