Snowy Owl and Tower

I’ve been really lucky these past few months. There has been a snowy owl irruption (you can thank the lemmings) and they’re all over the US in places that they usually aren’t. They like places that remind them of the arctic prairies which means you find them at airports and windswept beaches. This is tough in New England because they look like hunks of dirty snow of which there are many. The good news is that someone has usually done the tough work of finding them and so all you need to do is walk around a bit and look for the people staring excitedly into the dunes and usually you’ll see them. This is how I saw my first snowy owl a few weeks ago and how I saw my second just this weekend. Jim and I wrote OWL in the sand with an arrow to point to where the guy was hanging out. You’d miss him otherwise. Which I’m sure is what he probably wanted. Our arrow was blown away within ten minutes. You’re welcome, owl.

So yesterday when I hurled myself out the door in 25 degree weather order to get some exercise and vitamin D and walked around Gooseberry Point/Island/Beach/Whatever, I didn’t really have owls on my mind. But by the time I was rounding the last bend, I was a little curious if that big hunk of dirty snow might actually be…. And then it peeped at me and fluffed its feathers and I knew for sure. It was pretty exciting in that “simple pleasures” sort of way to get to have a private audience with an owl. I took a few photos as he rotated his head to keep an eye on me and then I continued on, made a report on ebird’s Snowy Owl Alert page (so gratifying to see it marked “confirmed”) and came home to look at the photos.

I’m occasionally posting stuff on Instagram also, for people who use that. It gets cross-posted to facebook (just like these posts do) so no need to install another app if you’re not already using it. If you are already using it, let me know your handle.

hunting season is over

orange vest on braided rug

I have this orange vest. Orange is my color. It looks good on me and I wear it as much as I can get away with. This was a non-issue at home, at Hampshire and no big deal in Seattle. Around here it attracts the occasional joke about hunting season. Which is fine. It’s perfect actually. As a kid, and even into adulthood, I always hated being teased, even friendly teasing. I know it’s mostly irrational and learning to roll with the occasional jab is just part of being a grown-up. But I still bristle and dislike it and always feel that people are playing status games with me when they subtly put me down for no reason, when I thought we were having a nice time. That said, I’m sure there is something that I may be missing about how I treat other people that makes them think maybe I went there first? Or that I enjoy this sort of thing? Or that I have it coming? Unclear. A big secret about me is that I am often confused.

Anyhow, I went to RTCC to go hang out at drop-in time and give people tech support. I made a joke with another teacher (intentionally, I knew it was a joke and I knew the person I was making it towards would know it was a joke, we are work friends, some things I understand) and he looked at me and said “Hunting season is over!” and we both laughed. This vest, a really nice soft vest with a lifetime warranty, is so much better than just being a bright orange down vest. It’s a predictable-teasing attractant. No one makes fun of my haircut when I wear this vest, or my shoes, or my phone, or whatever else it is that people like to point out and say “Hey you’re different, and weird!” Just that bright orange vest that makes me look like a misplaced hunter. It’s perfect, I’ll take it.