I dedicate this to all of you, who are also People of the Owl; blessings to my owl brothers and sisters in this gathering Dark of the year.
by Mark Nepo, from The Exquisite Risk
You must venture out by yourself, must trudge slowly, careful not to disturb the things that beckon you. You must remain quiet and listen till your ears and eyes strain as one.
And then you must wait. Till there seems no life but the air you thought was wind. Must wait till the breath coming through you seems no longer yours.
You must hold still, inside, must still your mind, for stillness outlasts loneliness and great things that fly in the night will not stop for the lonely.
You must venture out till it seems in, alone, in silence, careful not to fall prey to your want for company or audience. You must venture beyond your hope to be thought of at all.
And there, just as everything seems nothing, as the night can’t grow any colder, as the dark can’t isolate you further, there, the sudden mass of feathers might appear above you, and you must hold very still, despite the cold heat clouding your heart.
You must hold that breath and stare directly in its eyes, and it will spread its wings and stare back, so thoroughly, you will believe it sees all of what is hidden. And it may stare through you longer than you can stand.
And when it lifts its deep stamina, you might feel the knot in you soften and rise as if about to leave the world while the rest of you settles and roots a little further.
And then you will stay silent longer than you need to, not really wanting to return, unsure of what to say.