Burrowing Owl, Gentry Road, Near Niland, Calif...
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Okay it was 11:23, I checked. I was in a deep sleep and heard an awful sound. At first I thought it was the neighbors cats doing what cats do, making the most violent sounds you’d think they were beheading each other. More fully awake I realized it was yet another unnatural sound – unnatural to my ears anyway. The shrieking wasn’t from any animal I could think of so perhaps an owl was eating some poor cat or other woodland creature. It didn’t last long and I haven’t been outside yet to see if a carcass awaits me but it was an ugly moment. An ugly moment but somehow a nice reminder that we, as humans, do not control as much as we think. Clearly we have to be reminded all the time.

I sat in bed listening to the night sounds, heard my neighbors cat digging under my window, the house creaking as only a really old house does, and in the distance someone driving by with loud music blaring from the car stereo. Actually I could only hear the bass – which was sort of soothing after the screaming.

I decided that if I found a carcass outside, it would be the final straw on a stressful few days, then I got to wondering if there really is a “final straw”. That’s when we are supposed to snap, eh?

So we snap a bit and keep on keeping on. Contrary to popular culture when normal people snap we don’t grab a gun, get a tattoo, sleep with the gardener; and say “I deserve this”. We might cry, get angry, eat or drink too much and regret it in the morning, and then we pick up where the owl

left the carcass.