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Kansas City MO 64131




Filtering by Tag: owls


Cindy Maddera

Two nights ago we lost our house to a flood and a fire. In all the chaos, I ended up hit in the head and left in a coma for six months (yes, time is weird and relative). When I finally came too, I was all alone in the hospital. I pulled out my IV and rummaged around for some clothes. Then I walked back to where our house used to be. Seeing that there was no house, I continued walking until I got to a dumpy motel. Michael was living there some woman he was now sleeping with and all of our family members. Everybody looked rough with worn clothes and scraggly hair. I looked around at the squalor they were now living in and said “what is going on?!?” That’s when Michael, who was naked in bed with that woman I mentioned before, noticed me standing in the doorway. He sat up in surprise, sputtering to get a sentence out. I grabbed the woman by her hair and dragged her out of the bed and then kicked her. “Get the fuck out!” I spit in her face. Then Michael started rambling about insurance money and being broke. He was high or drunk, probably both. I just shook my head at him and then turned around and walked out.

And here I sit now in the light of day and reality (?) wondering what on Earth is going on.

My nights for the past few weeks have been filled with visions of nonsense. Someone said that this probably means I’m not sleeping well at night. That time between 9:30 PM and 1:00 AM is fantastic. I sleep so soundly that when I wake up sometime around one, I think it’s actually time to get up. Except I don’t because that sounds like a dumb idea. Instead I toss and turn, drifting in and out of sleep until around 4:30 ish. This week, I’ve just said “screw it” and peeled my body out of bed at 4:30 AM to get on my yoga mat. These morning practices have not been anything spectacular or fancy. I have just gotten on my mat and moved. Tuesday morning I ended my practice, curled up around the dog on my yoga mat. We lay there wrapped up in a blanket, still and quiet with Josephine’s toys scattered randomly around us. I could hear Michael snoring from his room. I could hear the creek and crack of the house shifting in the cold. Then I heard an owl hooting from somewhere in our front yard.

I heard that owl again this morning.

The hippy dippy part of me knows that these crazy night visions and the odd sleep behavior have to do with the Spring Equinox, which is just around the corner. It is my body preparing for the shifting of time. The sun is already staying out a little bit longer and I leave the house for work in the mornings in daylight instead of the dark of predawn. There is something a little bit uncomfortable in the shift because it is a slow transition. Particularly this year when we are predicted to get three to six inches of snow on Sunday. I always imagine this transition to be similar to the transition between human and werewolf. The movies always portray it so violently and painful. Think of the strain the body would go through to make such a dramatic molecular change, but then slow that molecular change down from seconds to days. I am slowely transitioning into a werewolf.

Or, if I want to be kind to myself, I am transition back into a human.

There is something about being awake while most of the rest of the world is sleeping. It is the time of morning covered in whispers and hushes. In the mist of the whispers and hushes, there is something calming and still. It is not a terrible time of day to be awake. It just sounds like a terrible time to be awake. When I was really little, I went through a phase where I would wake up in the middle of the night. I would get out of bed and quietly shut my bedroom door. Then I would turn on my light and quietly play with my toys in the middle of my bedroom floor. I don’t know how long this went on before I was finally discovered. My Mom opened the door to find me with the light on, playing. She made me go back to bed and turned the light out. I don’t remember getting up again after that, but I do remember that calming stillness. It must be something I just crave on occasion.

I am thankful for the hoot of an owl.


Cindy Maddera

Yesterday, I pulled up in the driveway on my scooter. The cat was sitting at the top of the drive and as I got closer, I realized he had a snake he was tormenting. The snake turned and headed right towards my foot and I hastily scooted forward out of his way. I am sure he was harmless. He had a square head of a harmless snake, but still. Snakes make me squeamish for some reason. I have been known to easily capture large bugs, lizards and frogs and hold these creatures in my hands, studying them before letting them go, but I have never been comfortable around snakes. They make my heart seize in my chest and my hands shaky. Even the harmless ones. There's something about the way a snake moves and smells that makes me mistrust them. It probably has to do with seeing one too many scary movies involving snake attacks. Some Native American cultures see snakes as symbols of fertility and rebirth. They are harbingers of creativity.

Later that evening, there was an owl in the back yard. We could hear him hooting and could just make out his silhouette as he perched on a branch high up in one of our trees. It is the tree that has me worried because it is the last to grow leaves and first to drop them. I stand at the kitchen window and try to predict how much house it's going to hit when it falls over. That's another story though. One about the pros and cons of home ownership. I sat on the back step, watching and listening to the owl until he finally flew off. I remember hearing some folklore once that seeing an owl in the daytime means that someone is going to die. After J died, I thought about this often. We had seen an owl in the middle of the day after saying goodbye to J and his unit as they were leaving for Iraq. If we hadn't seen that owl that day, J would still be alive. If only it were that simple. Owls are not harbingers of doom or death, but of great wisdom. 

If you are the type to believe in omens, then I have creativity and incite coming my way. If you are my type, you don't believe in omens. The snake just happened to be one of the many of Albus's victims. I am just happy it all was happening in the front yard where Josephine couldn't be involved. She steals Albus's victims for herself. I have walked out into the garage once to see what the animals were up to only to have Josephine look up at me, a small snake dangling from from her mouth like a long skinny mustache. At least this time the cat had some foresight to keep things where Josephine couldn't take it away from him. There have been owl sittings in the neighborhood for weeks now. One guy was even attacked by one while on his morning run through Brookside. I have heard the hoot hoot many time before. It was really not a surprise to finally see the source. My neighborhood is a good one for bird watchers. Just last week I saw the tiniest woodpecker with black and white stripes down his back.

It is just a coincidence they showed up on a day where I had a creative thought and a bit of incite.