When I walk through the wood at night my torch shines through the branches and bushes, bringing them to life. The shadows animate with each further step into the wilderness. A dead stump becomes a rabid dog, an overgrown vine becomes a gaunt marching witch. The stars shine brighter here, they gleam through the leaves and sticks as if a thousand unblinking eyes were glaring at me.
An owl hoots in the distance. Suddenly the hellish creatures fall away. Perhaps it was simply the intrusion of reality into my imagined landscape, or perhaps the owl imparted some of her courage to me. For an owl’s courage is only matched by her wit. For an owl, the night is as obvious and unfrightening as the day is to us. She sees no ghouls in the shadows but will spot the smallest step of a frightened mouse miles away. She has no fear of a monster in the shadows because that is what she is.
Though in the day the owl’s experience is equally as unnatural and ruled by imagination as ours is in the night. As the sun rises from the cold dead earth, the owl looks over her domain in coloured in the light. Her eyes are built to see the smallest flicker of movement miles away in the darkest deepest corner of the forest. Now in the daylight, she is overstimulated and sees prey everywhere.
The foliage that blankets the forest floor become a swarming ocean of scurrying mice. Every dancing leaf becomes a darting green sparrow. Even the sun itself becomes a giant egg to pillage from its blue nest. To slice it open with one stoop, spill its golden yolk down upon the earth. An owl would strike her talons down upon the neck of God if she could fly high enough, such is her courage.
Her reaction to this shifting mosaic of quarry is to simply close her eyes and sleep. While out of fear we close our eyes from the dark to hide, she does so simply to dream of greater prey than reality can provide – to scout, hunt, and devour in the day as she does in the night.