Hunters in the Night

Last night, I was awakened by the call of a great horned owl on our Littleton farm.  Long enamored with those raptors, I stepped out back to see if I might locate the source of the hoots.

It was a clear, cold night along the Colorado Front Range.  A full moon lit the snowy winter landscape and Orion, the Hunter, gleamed from the southwest sky, its bright companion Sirius shining to its southeast.  The owl stopped calling when I appeared in the yard but I might have observed its shadowy figure in a large, barren tree near the barn.  While the spring equinox is more than two months away, this is breeding season for great horned owls and its hoots were surely part of that ritual.

Standing in darkness on frozen ground, lit only by the moon and stars, I found myself caught between celestial and terrestrial hunters, both signs of the season; a creature of the tropics and ill equipped to function in the dark, I was clearly out of my element.  The winter night belongs to the hunters and I was both captivated and inspired by their presence.