Mice in the Wall

The owl was here again last night. I first saw him in the middle of a moonlit night when he landed on the windowsill at the head of my bed. I woke up thinking, “Crap! There’s mice in the wall,” and raised my head to see if I could see anything — and there was an owl, three inches from my nose.

“Look! There’s an owl on the windowsill,” I said to my husband.

As usual, he said, “Wha?”

The owl, hearing my voice turned its head so we were nose to nose and eye to eye. Then it rotated its head back around and flew away, its feathers flicking white in the moonlight.

But then, as I got up to get a drink of water, I saw it outside the window, flying back and forth in front of the house. At one point it came in for a landing just above my window, and I saw the moonlight through its spread wing- and tail-feathers, white like a ghost, before it changed its mind and went off again, flying around the north side of the house, silent and palely flickering.

My father in law, who was staying in the attic, said it came and landed on his window several times, as if it were seeking to get in.

It was one of those middle-of-the night experiences that seem so amazing and which you can’t really believe the next day. You wonder why it happened, and what the owl was doing, and then you shrug and file it away as a weird and beautiful memory.

But last night I was all alone and stayed up until 3:45 am, which I never do, and as I went to bed I saw it again, big and white, circling the house like some kind of elegant spirit. The wide white wings flickered past under the nearly-full moon and I wondered why it likes our house so much — but I didn’t question it, because it made me smile.

As I was falling asleep I had the thought: someone’s trying to send me an owl.

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