Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Hunt

There were two hunters behind our building tonight, Duncan, scouring the fence line and tree trunks where the rabbits curl in tight little balls, and the owl which swept down low in front of us as it too scanned the grass with its enormous yellow eyes. I'd seen it alight on top of the building earlier while talking on the phone, but afterward, when we took our last walk––our cold, late-night walk––it appeared suddenly, crossing my field of vision before coming to rest on top of the fence. As we neared, it took to the air again, landing atop another building and carefully marking our progress along the fence. Duncan seemed oblivious, his nose to the ground. Quite often we chase down a rabbit on our return from the park; they hide motionless in the grass, ears tucked down next to their bodies, until we are nearly on top of them, before they spring up and dart a zig-zag pattern across the lawn, cutting a wild path through the frost or snow as they scuttle toward the edge of the building and the shrubs that offer safety there. It became obvious that the owl was using us to startle up its prey and I wondered what would happen when Duncan finally came across one, whether or not we'd be witness to a quick flutter of wings from above and a scream as a rabbit was caught. Fortunately for the rabbits we reached home and as we turned inside I looked once more up at the tall brown body staring down at us, its head swivelling and jerking as it peered in our direction.

Funny, for weeks we've been seeking it out at The Owl Tree, returning almost nightly to the tree we found it in. Perhaps it's been seeking us as well.

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