Nothing says spring in Southern Illinois like wandering through the creek bottoms listening to the hoot owls call, the turkeys gobble and mushrooms underfoot.
Ever since my beloved friend Skippy died, a barred owl has been my nearly constant companion in the woods. Call me crazy – but I feel like it’s Skippy, going along like always, keeping watch like always. Some places the owl is very, very tolerant of me. Sits next to me on fence posts and tree limbs while I rest.
Shortly after we lost Skippy I noticed that a barred owl was frequently tree hopping, hooting and always seemed to be around. Friends have grown accustomed to me answering a hoot owl in the distance “Hiya Skippy – hope all is well on your side…”. It’s gone on long enough that no one questions it anymore.
While it’s a somewhat crazy belief, it brings me comfort. It makes me happy so…so be it.
Spring is one of those times when I miss my friend acutely. Acutely enough that at least once or twice each spring I find myself sitting on a creek bank, having lengthy conversations with my owl companion. An extremely tolerant and curious companion.
Yesterday was one of those days. I was tromping through the places that Skippy and I spent hours upon hours, I missed him. I missed everyone that’s now gone. All those that I had ever hunted with, spent time afield with, every damn dog I have ever owned. And every log I sat on to rest, there was the owl – fluttering in just over head.
Apparently my constant yammering and wandering even wore him out a bit - and at times he appeared to be sleeping.
As we headed back out, the owl parked himself on fence post and commenced. I felt like Skippy was trying to tell me that all was right with the world, and that as long as I was heading home with stringer of fish, a sack of mushrooms, and knew where the turkeys were roosting, life was good.