Barn Owls

A Meditation on Peace, I Guess


Recently, a subscriber wrote to me: “Know what I like about your Substack? I can count on it being totally irrelevant to what’s going on in the world.”

She meant this as a compliment, and I took it as one.

Today’s piece is relevant in that it’s an appreciation of said beautiful world and some of the creatures in it. If we go up in a bright flash, they go up in a bright flash; which is a fucking bummer.

I started school while duck and cover drills were still a thing. I remember hoping my underpants didn’t show as I cowered under my little desk in a skirt, ass in the air, arms covering my head. (Is it any wonder so many of my generation are paranoid kooks???) It’s been really nice having a few decades to worry about other crap besides nuclear annihilation.

But back to this owl pair: I was shooting on a farm in Ashland, Oregon in 2015. I’d seen a barn owl flying in and out of—what else—a barn. The poo stains on the wall under a hole in the corner indicated a possible residence. I set up a video camera on a tripod and left. The shot ran for a good eight minutes before the male came out. He let the female know the coast was clear, which she trusted but verified. This hangout lasted almost 20 minutes—too long to post here—until they heard me coming back.

These owls and I have a lot in common. We like our privacy (which I violated, mea culpa). We love to nap. We have zero real understanding of geopolitics.

I love how they take turns snoozing while the other one keeps watch. I have a feeling a lot of this will be going on in the human world in the weeks to come.

Peace Sign, with Kyp Malone ©Bonnie Hawthorne