Friday May 9, 2003 05:08 PM
Owls dig ska

Earlier tonight I was out back working on rewiring the lights on the scout.

I had drug an extension cord down the driveway to where the scout has sat immobile for several months for my soldering iron. I'd also brought the boombox from the back porch and a multiple outlet cord to plug both things into. I love (usually) working on my vehicles, but doing so is just that much more fun when I can crank the tunes.

Despite the inevitable loosing of small parts on the ground among the chaos of twigs, dirt, gravel and all the innumerable kinds of stuff that accumulates on the ground outside, I made decent progress and kept on working until there was just about enough light left to pick up my tools.

Around 8 pm, a little while before I started picking up, one of my favorite radio programs, The Ska's the Limit, came on and I was skankin' with the rude boyz as I collected my tools into my toolbox. When one song ended and another began I heard the loud, unmistakeable hoot of an owl in the trees nearby. I've heard this owl out in the back yard once before, but I'd never seen him.

When I heard another hoot I began to scan the black trees that filled the deepening indigo sky around me. I guessed the owl's general direction, but it was too dark to see anything but the indistinct black shapes of leafy limbs.

Then, suddenly, he took wing and I'd luckily been looking in the right direction to see his motion and watch as he flew off. As I said, it was getting pretty dark, but I clearly saw his black silhouette in the western sky as he flew by hooting his appreciation of my musical selection.

Later on over supper I told Ruth about seeing the owl.

"Oh, yeah. I've heard our little barn owl a number of times before," she said.

"Well," I replied, "he might be a barn owl, but he's not little. I bet his wingspan was four feet! Oh, and he's an owl with good taste in music."