Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Look at these! Greg bought them for me on from Vancouver based Savage Artworks. I love the meticulous attention to detail. The artist hand paints the wooden blanks with acrylics, then finishes with a coat of lacquer. I can't wait to receive them!

Folks are probably wondering what the obsession is with owls for me and my brother, so I will happily tell the story.

When we were kids, we used to play in a maroon barn situated in the weedy, jungle area of our property. My sister and I made the loft space overhead into our fort, complete with supplies, snacks and toys. We loved exploring the barn, as there were relics from the previous occupants, tiny bottles (we thought for magic potions) dusty books, doll parts and bits of costume jewelry. Our days were spent reading, pouring over ancient copies of 'Pack O' Fun' (an old craft magazine from the seventies, with the intriguing tagline of "turn trash into treasure!") and making little books from scrap paper and index cards. These books were our prized possessions, we drew pictures of fairies and unicorns, wrote stories and traded them with each other.

Late one afternoon, as we busily constructed a new book of lost treasure (complete with a map of our yard), my little brother asked what the 'whirring' sound was. We hadn't noticed it before, but then became aware of the low noise and decided to look for the source. We searched around the nooks, then climbed down to look near the floor, silent all the while. My sister thought it might be a squirrel, I thought it could be a sick cat, but my little brother was quiet, determined to find out for himself. Suddenly, as if the creature grew tired of being sought, began rustling its near soundless wings, and the movement drew our attention. There at the top, where the roof points upward, a great barn owl nestled on a shadowy beam and observed us with bright, wide eyes. It stared at our gaping faces for a moment, then flew off its nest in an elegant swoop right over our heads. We ran out to watch it disappear into the twilight, hoping to see more of the beautiful owl. We watched the sky for a long time, smiling and pleased - our little brother seemed the happiest, refusing to come in even after night fall. We never saw the owl again, but the sighting seemed to infuse us with the need to look for them wherever we went, or to draw pictures of them, as if our eyes would always long for a glimpse.

So, that is why I am obsessed with owls and birds and have loads of books on them. Our house sits high along a hill, so trees fill every window, blocking the view of the mountains, the shade preventing a garden. All so I can watch birds. I always carry binoculars and a bird guide, so I am prepared to document and draw. Well, we all have our quirks!


Janet said...

What stories of enchantment!
You so sparkle and shine Cynthia!

Janet said...

What stories of enchantment!
You so sparkle and shine Cynthia!

Janet said...

Oooops how did I do that??!! lol

katarinas mama said...

The name "Sophia" is the Greek word meaning wisdom...and an owl is...mhmm, you know, wise...I've always been drawn to them...last Fall when I was going through a particulaly tough period (skin cancer diagnosis) owl perched itself on one of our solar Dad snapped a photo of it...I figured it was a sign...silly, I know...but there you have it...I've always loved owls for exactly what they are...your childhood story sounds magical and lovely and perfect...I wish my kids would have some of those magic moments as well...I am sure, in their own time, they will. Thank you for sharing your creativity with us!

Lorelei said...

What a lovely story! I love their elusiveness too! And someday I hope to catch a glimpse of my own, outside of the zoo.

Lisa said...

Great childhood story! It brings back fond memories for me :) My love for owls was discovered a little later in life...Last year I ran a 5K race to benefit the Florida Wildlife Hospital, and they brought their "spokes-owl", Gonzo to the race. He is an Eastern Screech Owl who has an injured wing and is not able to be returned to the wild. He is so tiny and cute! I was able to "adopt" him by donating $(they mailed me a framed photo and adoption certificate), and I go visit him every so often and whenever he is making public appearances. My avatar is a photo of him right now. Funny that owls are becoming so popular right now too! Thanks for sharing :)

Cynthia Thornton said...

Glad you guys liked it! I love how popular owls are right now, I pick them up whenever I find some i like - which is often!

Andrew Thornton said...

That was a particularly wonderful story to share from our childhood. That happening has happily stayed with me for many years. I think I started collecting owls not long after that. Aunt Bernice gave me one. I remember that I told that story to our great aunt and she was so tickled by it that she gave me one from her collection. Mom still has it hidden away somewhere.

Carter said...

I commented a few days ago, and think I hit "erase" instead of "post." So here I am again ;)

Anywhoo (no pun intended), I love how certain childhood memories are so magical and stick with you forever. And you carry them as part of you for the rest of your life. This is a neat story.
And you should know that my Dad just retired after 30 years as the curator of birds at the zoo in Columbia. I'll have to introduce you two, and you can talk birds all day!
Happy sunday to ya'll-

Anonymous said...

I felt like I was there too,
with my think bifocals, squinting and smiling.

theres a wildlife refuge here and they have several resident owls that can never be released again because of their handicaps.
they will not allow you to touch them and its sheer torture to be inches away and not.... :(

Jean said...

I love this story. glad I came here today and read it!

Jean said...

I love this story. glad I came here today and read it!