more owl medicine
on a recent walk--10 days ago, maybe--to the Rillito with a friend, we passed by the place i'd found the owl feather mentioned last post. my friend looked UP, into the branches of the cottonwood tree, and there HE was--a great horned owl. so impressive, so impassive. so powerful.
2 days later, the same friend and i were in the arroyo again, and stopped at the same cottonwood tree. HE was there again, higher up but in a clearer space so i could see him better. we walked upriver to the next cottonwood tree, and barely 25 feet up, there SHE was. looking right into my eyes. holding my gaze for a long unbroken 5-10 seconds (which is a long time when being penetrated by owl eyes). then, a blink and another long eyes-half-open gaze....so catlike, eerily so. then her eyes closed. i felt pierced in my heart.
yesterday, another friend and i were driving back to my house after the dog walk. 2 blocks from my house, i saw a dead owl on the sidewalk. i made a u-turn and went back. my friend looked up (apparently i need help with this step) and saw an extended full wing on the high-power line. this young owl got electrocuted and the force of the jolt tore his left wing off.
his eyes were still half open, his body cool but not rigid. i had a red towel in the car, so i wrapped him up and took him home to my housemate, who has practice in the art of ceremonial raptor preparation. last night after sunset she took what was offered--wing and tail feathers, mostly, leaving the talons and head intact.
i took the remains to the Rillito today for burial. i faced him looking eastward, buried him in a shallow grave, said prayers, offered tobacco and herbal prayer blend. i cut my hand walking uphill to the site, and drops of my blood were buried with him.
walking back to the car, i stopped at the cottonwood trees (out of respect for the living owls, i took the young one far away to return him to the soil). HE was not in his tree, but SHE was in hers....and as i looked up, i saw she was already watching me approach. i stood just underneath her, thanked her for her little brother, thanked her for the gift of owl medicine for the last many many years. i wept and prayed and sprinkled tobacco again. i was trembling with....some kind of big emotion; a force moving deeply in my psyche.
she watched me until i was done, then closed her eyes and settled her head down into her neck.
it was hard to turn and walk away.