The barred owl called through the white pines, resonating, waiting for perfect silence and purity of the darkness and I wondered, does he wait every night for this moment when the world is silent and only those awoke will hear his voice.
And I thought of the millennia gone by, how many thousands of years his avian ancestors have done the same. Of the native peoples of this land along the Lake Michigan coast, the indigenous Chippewa and Ottawa of the Sleeping Bear peninsula who would sleep under these stars without city lights that steal the celestial bodies, awoken and looking to the night sky much as I am on this August night, only I am gazing from the window of my tiny half-dome tent.
I’ve mourned the great horned owl who visited every winter, alert and defiant on dark winter solstice nights when the Earth and nature sleeps. A suburban neighborhood was once a haven for him but the calling stopped when the bulldozers came and took more trees and forest down without a thought to the life in those trunks and branches.
And so it is, as the woodland homes of the wildlife and the lands of the native peoples have diminished.
Wildlife is barely holding on in this chaotic, human-dominated world that keeps taking yet somehow not finding contentment, continuously searching for the elusive answer to the discontent, something bigger and better perhaps? Maybe a longer bucket list to check off? Yet the list grows and the anxiety remains.
And the barred and great horned owls keep calling with voices strong and pure as the black night begging us to look to the night sky and hear them and to take our children to hear them, know them, while there is time.