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June 2006, vol 2 no 2
Hangin' with Bubo (virginiansis)
(Marmora, Ontario trails haibun - December 29th, 2004)
Another adventure on the trails of Ontario . . . it was so bright yesterday (finally) that I decided to do my daily walk facing into the sun. Chose the snowmobile trail which runs behind the old quarry hamlet of Malone. The first kilometer of the trail is thru an avenue of cedars and white pine, which then opens to a mile-long straightaway across a swamp.
About a quarter of the way across the swamp I surprised two white-tailed deer approaching to browse. This is to be expected, as many trails are lined with sumac and various other seed-bearing appetizers. Unfortunately, the deer caught my scent, and they skipped back through the swamp to a thickly wooded hummock.
Bending bloodred clusters
for a future feast
I continued along the straightaway, stopping for several minutes to soak up much-needed vitamin D. Despite the brightness, the day was bitterly cold, at least minus 15C. To keep warm I set a fast pace, and was just about bowled over by a brown and gray buzzbomb from the swamp! A great horned owl brushed within fifteen feet of me, unusual as they are night hunters. I intuited where he had landed in the thick brush on the other side of the trail. There he was, perched in the upper branches of a tree.
Solstice smudging rewards:
another new friend
I had the feeling he was also watching me very carefully, and I gave a thin high whistle to mimic a small rodent. He swivelled his head further towards me like Linda Blair in "The Exorcist". We stared at each other for at least five minutes, and I felt so crazy I held out my arm hoping he'd land on it.
Synchronicity again with the owl tribe. A few days earlier I'd placed a full-colour picture of Bubo virginiansis on my home altar. This was my third major visit from Bubo, and each visit was becoming longer and more intimate.
Ancient monk/warrior readies for fresh battle:
old ways returning
Wanting to mark Bubo's location, I noticed a skeletal stump in the swamp. I paced back to it so I could memorize the spot, and then I noticed an ancient metal number "9", like an address marker on it. Very curious.
Time to head back, and reluctantly I turned away from the sun. A haze of clouds was now hanging in the sky, and taking a last glance I saw something I'd never seen before—a huge rainbow was arcing from horizon to horizon forming a corona around the sun! After the deer and the owl I wasn't sure if this was a flashback, so I walked a few hundred yards without again looking towards the sun. Yes, it was a brilliant full rainbow, framing the sun! Sylvia told me that night these are called sundogs, or parhelions.
Buddha so beautiful
a veil is required