Friday, June 18, 2010

Surprise Visitor

John came home one day this week with a Great Horned Owl that had gotten hit by a car and was nursing a bum wing and leg. He was on his way to a client meeting when he spotted the poor little guy on the shoulder of the road, so the owl rode to the meeting in John’s lap, and then transferred to a cardboard box donated by the client. (Side note: you have to love a building designer who shows up to your kitchen renovation carrying a piece of saved wildlife.)

We called the Game Commission and they said an officer would call us, but time went by and none did, so I left a message at the raptor rehab about 25 minutes from here. Then the phone rang, and the Very Cranky Game Officer, who was sitting at the intersection about a mile south of here, demanded to know where the owl was, and then whether I had made clear to the dispatcher that the owl was in my possession, and then the gender of the dispatcher who had supplied him with the false impression that there was a Great Horned Owl lying in a state of distress along Route 29 in Dimock. Although the VCGO would not confirm, it appears that he drove an hour to get here from the regional office, and maybe that’s why he was pissed.

He was not a great deal nicer in person, but he did take the owl off to a rescue center, saving me the trouble.

It was a real treat to see such a beautiful animal up close, and in our subsequent research we found out that where a big, mean game officer has 60 pounds per square inch crushing power in his hands, a Great Horned Owl has 500 pounds per square inch, enabling them to catch and eat animals two-thirds their size. I just wish we had called the nice lady from the raptor rehab first (she called back right after the owl left). Because as it is, I feel like we narced out the little guy to the cops.

And, for the record, if I thought I could get Officer Sunshine out of the building for two hours by neglecting to mention that the owl was resting comfortably in a box on somebody’s porch, I would do it too.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Psalm 23

The shearer came yesterday to relieve the overburdened sheep of their four inches of very warm wool. It’s been pretty hot for weeks, so they should have been glad to be shorn, but since it involves being torn one by one from their safe place in the barn and wrestled out the door to God knows what, they were not. Roger was gone by 8 a.m., but the sheep bawled for the next hour until I left the property for a wedding, and when I returned at 5, they were still bawling. I went back out and came back home, and at 7:30 p.m., they were still out in the barnyard, yelling their heads off. Finally it occurred to me that they sounded hungry, so I went out and walked down the barnyard with them and stood still at the bottom and let them bunch up around me. After a few minutes of butting and jostling, they settled down and began to eat ravenously. It would appear that all day long, they had been too frightened and unsettled to risk lowering their heads to graze.

It got dark as I stood there, letting the sheep eat and singing that Sweet Honey in the Rock song about King David playing his harp for his sheep, and the fireflies and the lighting started to come up in and above the orchard. And I developed a new appreciation then for the twenty-third psalm:

The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters;
He restoreth my soul.

I’m afraid a lot of the Bible is thrown away on folks nowadays, not because we’re all corrupt and going to hell, but because we mostly don’t have sheep. Until you have made it possible for someone to go to bed with a full stomach merely because your presence makes them feel safe enough to eat, it is hard to appreciate how nice it would be to feel that way about somebody else looking after you. But lately I’ve been thinking that getting all bent out of shape about life doesn’t seem to be making a lot of difference, just losing me sleep, so maybe my new attitude should be, “Screw it. The Lord is my shepherd.”