So what has all this got to do with the owl pictures I posted last week?
Well, it all started out rather inauspiciously. This has been one of the rainiest Oregon Octobers on record. We've had rain, rain, and more rain since the end of September. Our last two appearances at the Astoria Sunday market were rained out...in fact, the final market was actually canceled due to predictions of storms and strong winds--not conducive to retail sales from beneath canvas canopies inclined to whip or fly away in the wind, or at the very least, dump buckets of water on an unsuspecting patron's head when the right combination of rainfall and wind conspire to cause all hell to break loose.
Days on end of rain tend to play right into the husband's favorite "togetherness" activity--sitting in the family room and watching tv for the five hours between when he gets home from work and when he goes up to bed at 9:00 pm (interrupting the nightly "binge" only to feed ourselves and the livestock). But after a few weeks of that, I'm ready to die of cabin fever. So when the weather cleared up briefly last Thursday night just as the husband arrived home from work, I insisted that we take advantage and get ourselves out to the dike and/or local trails for a little fresh air and exercise. He agreed readily enough; and off we went. At the last minute, I decided to grab my camera before we went out the door..."just in case we saw anything interesting."
And almost immediately, we did indeed see something interesting. The slanting sun shone on a tall brown shape sitting among the leaves near the top of a cottonwood next to the trail. "Oooh...what's that?" Thinking it would turn out to be one of the redtail hawks with whom I've had close encounters in the past on this trail, I pointed my camera at it, snapped off a few frames, then brought the camera down and pushed the playback button. Zooming in on the fuzzy image on the screen, it was nevertheless clearly an owl...no mistaking that head shape and those eyes, out of focus or not.
"Holy crap! It's an owl!"
"Really? Let me see! Wow! Good eye!" This from the husband. The one who doesn't care if he ever goes back to Klamath.
We would go on to hear and see two more owls in the fading daylight of the next 45 minutes. Husband himself would locate one by following the direction of the big male's low hooting. I knew I was not imagining that he was as geeked out as I was about spotting owls practically under our noses on an evening walk so close to home.
As we turned and headed back to the van, I just looked at him and said again:
"So you really don't want to go to Klamath with me?"
He looked at me...a little sheepish, I think. And then opened the negotiation. Talked about not knowing if he could get the time off for the exact week in January that we had gone before. I said it didn't matter, it didn't even have to be January. It was just nicer to go before the whole world arrived for the "Winter Wings Festival" in February.
He paused. Defeated? Enlightened? Convicted?
"I'll talk to Sandy (his boss). I'll see if I can get any time off."
I knew we were going. I stopped and looked up at him...looked him right in the eye. And I said:
"You know, I've been free to make arrangements for this trip for months. And I just haven't done it. I know I told you that I could and would go without you. But when I really thought about it, I realized: if you don't want to go, I don't want to go either. It was a you and me thing, and without you it just wouldn't be a thing."
It's not like we fell into each other's arms and declared our rekindled love for one another. It's not like we even acknowledged that we've been playing some kind of clueless chess game, trying to assert our independence from each other while being held inextricably together by deep, deep connections we didn't even know we had...until we tried to sever them. But we're going to Klamath in January. Together.
I feel strongly that the Universe pushed those owls into our path to guide us, to make us see through the darkness of the tangled mess our relationship has become. And that the Creator is now telling me not to over think this...just be grateful, grab hold and run with it. Now.
I still don't know what we have, still don't know how to celebrate it, still don't know what will happen tomorrow, or the day after, or the minute we step foot off the train back from Klamath Falls in January.
But I have some hope...and that's way more than I had a week ago.