March 2019 SOLC–Day 12
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Part One: It seems like it all started the day the muffler and a few related and assumably important pipes yielded their grip on the underside of my car, and hung there partially attached…dragging… I won’t get into too much detail. Let’s just say that we rapidly jettisoned our plan for a hike, and I was driving home cautiously, accompanied by a metallic soundtrack and white knuckles. Suddenly…
“There’s an owl!” Kurt exclaimed and pointed. “I think it’s a barred owl.”
“What? Where!?” I demanded, looking wildly about me.
I love owls. Love, love, love them! We hear them frequently, but I’ve never seen one in the wild, and I’ve been dying to.
I braked…but slowly, ever mindful of the tenuous grip my muffler had on the car, and looked for somewhere to pull over.
“I can’t believe you aren’t braking harder,” he said.
“I’m afraid of losing the entire exhaust system!” I retorted, swiveling my head like, well, like an owl, desperate to catch a glimpse of one. Unfortunately, by then, I’d moved too far down the road, and it was nowhere in sight.
Pulled over on the side of the road, I had to decide what to do. Earlier, we’d realized that reversing would be the kiss of death for the muffler. Did I want to risk turning around somewhere, driving back and then having to do all that all over again, dragging the exhaust system the entire time? This was a tough decision!
Eventually, I decided that the conservative choice was the more responsible one. I continued forward, abandoning all hope of seeing the owl, and headed home at a snail’s pace. A loud snail’s pace. It probably seemed even slower (and maybe louder) for those in the car who had to listen to my constant laments.
“Ugh! I can’t believe I didn’t see it!”
“I really want to see an owl.”
“I can’t believe I didn’t see it.”
As we got closer to home, I announced, “After we get home, I’m going back.” Then I quizzed Kurt, “Where exactly was the owl? How far back from the main road? On the left or right? High in the tree or low in the tree?”
He did his best to answer my questions, and as soon as I parked the injured car in the driveway, I raced over to our other car.
“Are you really going to drive all the way back there?” Kurt asked.
“Yes!” I said, clambering into the car. “You never know! It might still be there!”
He shook his head. I slammed the door, started the car, and careened out of the driveway to drive the ten or fifteen minutes back to the approximate location of the owl sighting. Not quite at a snail’s pace this time.
Arriving in the general vicinity, I drove back and forth down the long country road. I drove slowly, searching through the trees, trying to locate the owl. Time and again, I pulled over to let other cars pass. I looked high and low, but ultimately, I had no luck. No owl. After about twenty to thirty minutes, I gave up. I headed home, scanning trees along the way.
I’d love to be able to write that that’s when I saw the owl–that after giving up, I finally saw one. It would make a great story, right? Happy ending and all. But sadly, that’s not what happened. I didn’t see an owl. Nary a one.
But, while I was disappointed, I was also glad that I’d made the effort. I may not have seen the owl, but at least I’d tried. And it’s awfully nice to know they’re out there. Maybe next time.