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Dear World,

There are some days when I don’t interact with anyone, which leaves little room for love notes to humans, but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing to which to write a love note. Tonight, I write a love note to owls, and send it to them on the black wind.

To the Long-Eared Owl, glimpsed through changing aspen trees many September ago, in the woods somewhere outside of Crested Butte, on one of those journeys that shaped the years to come. To the baby Western Screech Owl, nestled in the corner of a porch, so still that I wasn’t sure it was real. To the Barn Owl in the Portland Zoo, whose ghost face leapt brightly from the shadows of a rough-hewn roof beam. To the Great Horned Owls who lived in the towering White Fir tree outside my pink cottage, who hooted to one another in my sad darkness, gently, until I learned their language and could hoot in response. Especially to the one who, one night as I made my way across the cold dead grass, swooped so low, so huge, so close to my head that I had to duck, that I could feel the draft from the beat of his wings. And finally, to the pair, as yet unseen, that speak softly outside my window on rare wee hours in the Bungalow. I hope that one day I can learn how to talk to them as well.

great horned owl


My Mother always loved it when the pelicans flew over the porch. It happened seldom when we were little, and more and more often before her passing. Now it is a frequent occurrence, as if they have finally established a new flight pattern. I wonder what changes in the environment drew them in such numbers? I can see them sometimes skimming just over the edge of the sea. Always in formation, they have an interesting wing pattern, as if the leader starts the current with his flapping, then those in line behind each flap until he or she picks up the air current of the first party, and so on down the line, until they are gliding on the squadron’s momentum. Every so often, there will be a straggler or two, or perhaps they are rogues, trying to establish their own crew. They fly south. Then half an hour or so later, they return north. The pattern repeats, often, throughout the day. My Mother would have been delighted.

Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the Day: “Well, if she doesn’t like pelicans she must be very disagreeable.”  —  Tess Oliver

Daily gratitudes:
Outfitting Kelsea for college
The lovely feel of the air today
Pockets of rain
Kelsea’s excellent tree trimming
Getting all my wedding pictures from my good-sister

This handsome gentleman was most flirtatious, blocking my path, spreading his feathers, and doing a full 360 to show himself off to all of his best advantages, trying to win my affections.

Peacock with spread tail fan

Gwydir Castle, Wales.

Quote of the Day: “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”  —  Joseph Campbell

Daily gratitudes:
Kelsea excelling at her MasterDrive course
Original 1950s diner

I have no idea what attracted the attention of this little flock, but they were obviously enraptured. As I seem to be in a phase in which I am totally enamored with poultry, I bid you a good weekend with this image. 

Llanhennock, Monmouthshire, Wales.

Quote of the day: “It is our duty as men and women to proceed as though the limits of our abilities do not exist.”  —  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Daily gratitudes:
The big red ball of sun this morning
Realizing that pigeons are, in fact, pigeon-toed
Keeping random hilarious thoughts to myself
My pink orchid earrings
A weekend respite with MKL

These seabirds shared a stone in the shallow waters of the bonefish flats in Anegada, waiting for something small and delicious to swim into view.  Not a stitch of greenery or colorful flower in sight, but a glimpse of the sea feels as appropriate as a gently blown kiss to the beginning of the spring.

Saltheap Point, Anegada.

Quote of the day: “I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart’s affections and the truth of the imagination.”  —  unknown

Daily gratitudes:
The Market on Larimer Street
The compliments on my white cowboy boots today
Crescent moons
Blue skies
Classical music
Laughter and tears
My dear friend Pam
That Nancy was born today

When we went to Wales three years ago, we spent one night in a wonderful place called Gwydir Castle.  Pat talked the couple who had bought and were restoring the place into letting us stay, even though Kelsea was under the age limit for acceptable guests.  It was so worth it.

Our room was on the second floor and overlooked an interior courtyard.  In the morning, we were amazed to see peacocks on the window ledge.  They flew up from the ground – I didn’t know they could fly – and perched on the stone railing and awoke us with their amazing gurgle-gobbling.  We were all a little disoriented, and it took us a few minutes to figure out what we were hearing.

The peacocks roamed the grounds freely.  Pat and I took a walk together through the spreading trees and up the garden paths.

It is a nice memory – and we encountered one fellow in particular who seemed to have developed a….fondness for me.  He was definitely trying to impress, blocking our path, and spreading his tail to its fullest extent, then slowly revolving to show me how much more handsome he was than my current companion.  He refused to let me go for some time, so I took advantage of his preening by taking pictures.

We found peacock feathers all over the grounds, and thought it was wonderful.  Kelsea and I collected feather bouquets and played with them – she did a wonderful peacock impersonation.

There was no way we could take them with us, so we decided to take them outside and give them back to the grounds.  As we were leaving our wing of the castle, we encountered the male half of the couple who owned the property.  We wanted to make clear that we weren’t smuggling the feathers away, in case they used them for something.  As soon as we showed them to him, he literally blanched (I’ve never seen anyone do this before), backed away, stammered something unintelligible and disappeared down the stairs.

Kelsea and I were disturbed – had we done something to offend him?  Was he angry with us?  We caught up with his wife and asked if we had made some grievous error.  She explained that he loved having the peacocks on the grounds, but he’d been raised to believe that having the feathers in the house (detached from the bird) was terribly unlucky, and meant that death would come to the house.

I had never heard this superstition before, so I did a little research after we got home.

Apparently this legend works both ways.  In certain counties in the United Kingdom, peacock feathers in the house do indeed portend ill luck.  Documentation of this belief goes as far back as 1866.  However, the more modern side of the psychic community believes that peacock feathers indoors signify protection of the energy of the home environment.  This belief is particularly common in Asian cultures.

How did this superstition arise?  The end of a peacock’s feathers resemble the “evil eye” of olde, otherwise known as the eye of the she-demon, Lilith,

or perhaps reflective of the evil Argus, with one hundred eyes all over his body, who was transformed into a peacock with an eye at the end of each tail feather.

Thus, villagers thought that the bird’s feathers would bring bad luck.  Other theories are more focused on protecting the species.  The “evil eye” feather indicated that the flesh of the peacock was poisonous, a totally false idea which was propagated to save the peacock from becoming the main dish at any and every elegant banquet in Renaissance Europe.

Of course, when you consider what peacock feathers have been used for (and how many have been used), they might have been justified in their concerns around the survival of this species of fowl.  Consider:

– This Chinese wedding dress has 2009 peacock feathers as part of the train, at a cost of $1.5 million smackeroos.

– A handmade peacock feather cloak (this one took 1500 feathers) – image credit for this goes to Rob Jan:

– Peacock feather shoes by designer Pedro Garcia

– Peacock feather wedding bouquets (doesn’t the bad luck thing rear its head here?)

Peaccok feather cake topper by Lana Pelham of Fairbanks Florist in Orlando, Florida

And finally, the ubiquitous peacock feather fan.

Peaccok feather fan by Lana Pelham of Fairbanks Florist in Orlando, Florida

My mother always wanted one, and so I gave her one that I found in an antique store in Georgetown, Colorado for Christmas one year.  She would never do anything with it other than fan herself (duh) but it was one of those lifelong dreams fulfilled (sort of like me wanting an Easy-Bake Oven and a Mystery Date game.)

Peacocks are not the brightest bird in the boat, but they are beautiful.  We found them at several Welsh castles (including an albino peahen at Ruthin Castle)

and they terrorize small children with food at the Denver Zoo.

Kelsea and I laid out our peacock feathers artistically on a hedge at Gwydir Castle before our departure.  We never saw our host again.  Hopefully by now, he has recovered from the shock.

June 2022


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