My Experience With An Owl

My Experience With An Owl

finding positivity in my favorite animal.
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In light of recent events sweeping our nation, it is important to me and to a lot of people to try and find some positives within our own life to reflect on. Mine just so happens to be the living out of a lifelong dream of getting to hold an owl. This may seem like an odd thing to dream of doing, but from the start owls have been a big part of my life (I was a weird kid, what can I say?).

When I was little, my dad got a tattoo of an owl perched on a scroll with my name on it. This would be "my tattoo" growing up. Owls symbolize wisdom and knowledge, both of which I hold as important factors of my life. When I was younger I strived to learn all I could, reading copious amounts of books in record time, and as an adult I still have a drive for gaining knowledge and wisdom of the world around me. Thus, I feel that my life is personally connected to what an owl represents.

Then however, came the obsession with getting owl themed items. I had stuffed animals, jewelry, pillows, pictures, drawings, etc. all of owls. This obsession has dwindled substantially as I became slightly overrun with the theme, however it did not diminish my fondness for this bird. I would go to aviaries growing up and seek out the owls, listen to the woods at night to hear the faint hooting in the trees, and read books about the various kinds of owls in the world (216 species to be exact).

As I grew older I always wanted the chance to actually hold one for myself, and of course I wanted one as a pet at one point, but I realize that is out of the realm of possibility now. When I was eighteen and working at a zoo, a keeper let me pet a small screech owl and, well, I cried. This might not have been my finest moment but I was so excited by just getting to be that up close with my favorite animal.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. While visiting my boyfriend in nearly the middle of Pennsylvania, we decided to explore a fall festival in the neighboring area. After attending this festival we drove past a sign saying another fall fest was right up the road. Without planning, we decided to see what this one had to offer. Hoping for some food or maybe live music we went to what can not really be considered a fall fest but just a few informational booths set up along a dam. We decided to check it out anyway and while walking along I almost didn't notice that massive owls and other birds of prey were on display at one of the stands. It was a booth advocating for a birds of prey sanctuary, and they brought some of the birds they use in educational settings to be seen. My eyes fell on one owl in particular. He was massive, and had bright orange eyes. He was an eagle owl, one of the larger species. I was enamored and then I realized I would be allowed to hold him.


I went up put on a safety glove and watched as the man wound his harness around my fingers so he wouldn't fly away. Then with one shift of his wrist Owlexander (his name of course) hopped onto my arm and looked at me. It was a moment I will not soon forget. As we looked at each other, my heart felt full. This was a moment I had waited years for and it had now become a reality. I felt like a little girl again imagining being able to do this, and I was truly happy.

So, regardless of the negativity surrounding our nation at this time, reflect on a moment of pure happiness in your own lives, as I did with Owlexander. Maybe it will help inspire you that a better tomorrow will eventually come.

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3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads

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I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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The 7 Best Pieces Of Advice I Have Been Given About Life

Some of the best advice I have been given over the years...

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There isn't a central theme among these pieces of advice or sayings. They are all just random things I have been told over the course of my life–especially in the last week. I find these 7 to be particularly helpful in various situations, and try to keep them in mind when I am in over my head.

1. "Don't be afraid to advocate for yourself because there is nobody who is going to help you more than you."

You are the #1 person who can help your own case. No one knows you as you do, therefore no one will be able to help you more than you can help yourself. A lot of things are mental, so once you can convince yourself that you deserve something (whatever it may be) you can convince anyone. Another saying goes along with this, on the flip side: "No one can diminish you but yourself." You are in control of your own self-perception, and you are very much capable of being your own worst enemy.

2. "Stand behind your reputation because you can never get it back."

My mom sent this to me the other day. Be who you are, and do it proudly. Especially with meeting people for the first time, you can never have a second chance at a first impression. That being said, if people view you in a bad light, figure out why that is and fix it. You may not be able to change someones initial thoughts of you, but you can change the way they view you after that.

3. "The best things in life happen unexpectedly."

"Life is what happens when you're busy making plans," also goes along with this. Trying to plan out every little detail of your life is only going to lead to disappointment. Sometimes you find the best things/what you're looking for when you're not actually looking. Just go through the motions and things will work out the way they are supposed to.

4. "Be proud of your accomplishments, no matter how small."

It's important to celebrate the little things. Did you go to class today? Good for you. Did you decide to drink water instead of a soda? That's awesome. How are you going to work up to doing bigger and better things if you don't have anywhere to start?

5. "Whatever you're stressing about now probably won't matter in five years."

As someone who is often eaten away by their own worry and anxiety, this is a mantra that I try to constantly remind myself. While it may seem like a big deal now, you need to keep in mind the bigger picture. Will it matter in 5 hours? 5 days? 5 months? And so on. If the answer is no to ANY of these questions, it's probably not worth beating yourself up over.

6. "Stop being the 'go to' person for someone you can't go to."

Someone tweeted that their pastor said this to them and the tweet went viral. A friend of mine sent it to me, and it really made me think. Something I have struggled with over the years is making excuses for people who don't show up for me when I am constantly there for them. This is a helpful reminder that if they aren't contributing to you and your life, you shouldn't have to bend over backward to help them out and be in their lives.

7. "Two wrongs don't make a right."

While this is often a saying that parents use on their young children, it is applicable to pretty much any stage of life. My parents, especially my dad, have constantly said this, whether it was in reference to fighting with my siblings or dealing with people at school. Even as a 20-year-old, I find myself saying this when I hear about arguments and problems people are having. Everyone wants to get even, to best those who hurt them. While it's important to stick up for yourself, it is also important to be the bigger person and not stoop to their level (and whatever else your parents told you in these situations).

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