I’d just tucked the horses in with their last flakes of hay and was standing outside their stalls, becoming a part of the silence, when I heard the call.
I followed the question slowly across the fence line, trying to trace the inquisitor, until I caught a glimpse of an unfamiliar shape up to my right: there, atop the pepper tree by the pond, perched in survey of the breezy stillness, head swiveling toward me as I approached.
A great horned owl.
I stopped, not wanting to enter his space, which had just become sacred.
How often we encroach on some ancient ritual, not served by our observation.
He was searching.
And so I retreated, back to the house, where Emma was staring intently out the front door sidelight, also searching.