Tag Archives: life experiences

The Curious Owl


My encounter with the Curious Owl happened while I was on one of my favorite local walking/running trails. I had been running at an area on the trail under heavy tree cover and ahead of me I noticed two people standing, looking and pointing at something in the trees above. I was on a mission to keep my pace so I didn’t pause to see what had them spellbound. I kept running and as I passed underneath the spot they were staring at, I remember hearing movement not far behind me.

After I finished my loop, I was cooling down with a walk around the parking lot when suddenly I heard a perturbed sounding female voice yell, “Excuse me!” Surely this person can’t be talking to me, I thought. I kept walking. “Excuse me! Were you the one that was just running in the woods?” Ok, maybe she is talking to me. I stopped and turned around expecting a confrontation, “Yeah,” I answered matter of factly.

The woman struggled to speak as if she were out of breath, exasperated by the fact she couldn’t get her words out quick enough, “Well, we just had to tell you,” she motioned toward her male companion… “when you went running by us, we were watching two owls in the trees and when you ran past, the baby one swooped down right next to your head. We think it was after your ponytail, like maybe it thought it was a squirrel or something.”

Thinking back to that moment I imagine I looked quite perplexed scratching my head and searching the empty air around me hoping to happen upon a few floating words. I remained silent wondering what to say given this…unexpected information. When my words finally decided to assemble themselves into an intelligible sequence I said, “I wonder if it’s a sign.”

“Well I don’t know, but we just had to tell you that.” I stood rooted to the green patch of grass I was standing on as I watched the couple turn and walk towards their vehicle and drive off.

As I crawled in my car to leave I couldn’t help but think about how odd the occurrence was. Certainly it couldn’t be a common experience, the owl itself or the way in which I learned of its presence.

I had questions. What do you do when you have questions that need to be answered? Google. I typed some version of owls and symbolism in the search bar. I came away with two pieces of information. The first described a more well-known depiction; the owl is commonly used in our culture to represent wisdom or knowledge. The second explanation I uncovered described how in some cultures the owl served as a warning for death or tragedy. Fantastic. Nice to know I brought death upon someone all because I had to go running through the woods.

With this new information and my ongoing battle to try and keep looking toward the positive— I decided that if it had been a sign from the universe, I was going to view it as a positive one. What does any of this actually mean? I choose to see it as this: Be like the young, curious owl. Let go of the sturdy branch on which you cling and take flight, even if it means risking a mistake.

A few days later I was retelling the story to my dad, including my google search. As we sat on the back of his box truck discussing it, an idea occurred to me. Seeking wisdom and knowledge of the world and of myself would in a way— lead to the death of the person I once was to make room for the newly enlightened one. One might call it a death without tragedy.



Sleeping Beauty

In the darkest room
warm puffy cheeks
eyes beneath closed curtains
ripe lips sealed
perfect pristine figurine lying unaware, untouched

Come, crawl into bed with your Sleeping Beauty

I’ll dream I’m awake
that I have wings, that I’m soaring
and I turn my head and see you flying beside me

I’ll dream I’m awake
that you wrap my hands carefully and intently with yours
and your sweet, assuring voice
recites the indisputable equation
two plus two can only equal four
no more

I’ll dream I’m awake
that you see me, and I see you
and we are both alive

I’ll keep dreaming
And you keep sleeping


Yes, I’ll have the retrospect with a side of introspect

Dear 11 year old self,

Don’t worry about the kid that takes advantage of your quietness, because you don’t know how to stand up for yourself yet. Don’t worry about the girls standing in a giggling bunch by the bleachers, jeering because you’re not allowed to shave your legs yet. Don’t worry about feeling different, like you’ll never fit in.

You will learn to speak your mind. One day you will know what it means to have a voice and to speak with conviction. One day you will be able to make your own choices. One day you will choose compassion over ridicule because you know what it feels like to lumber in those shoes. You will know that you are different from all others, and you will learn it is the greatest gift you will ever receive.

Dear 27 year old self,

People will come into your life strangers and familiar faces, and not all of them will be with you for the duration of your journey. It won’t always be clear why your path crosses with theirs, why you walk alongside one another for however long it may be. Sometimes it won’t be easy, parting ways with a fellow traveler when your paths diverge.

Know in your heart that this is truth: you have been walking for *27 years. For 27 years you have lived, learned, loved, suffered, experienced, fell onto your hands and knees, got back up on your feet and kept walking. You have made the choice time and time again to put one foot in front of the other. Out of all of the people that walk with you—those that no longer do, the ones that continue to, and those that may in the future, not a single one could ever take those steps for you or from you.

No matter the events that transpired you have never stopped walking. You’ve come a hell of a long way and you’ve got a lengthy stretch of road ahead of you. Persevere my dear, YOU have built this person made for conquering.


*Now 28, I wrote this prior to waving goodbye to 27. The timing was perfect.

The Pursuit

How do people measure self worth and the worth of others? Is it measured by how much one has contributed to their community or to society as a whole? Number of friends? The amount of money in a bank account? The number of languages one can speak? The number of beautiful, traveled places one has seen? Perhaps, the amount of love and understanding one has given?

Happiness, success, peace; together these ideas become a framework for greatness. Individually, each have different meanings for different people. Are they something to strive for in a way as to attain an overall state of being when we reach a certain age? Or are they feelings we experience from single moment to moment spanning the timeline that is our life? Combination of both?

What does greatness mean to me? Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed or anxious, I find myself worrying that I’m not doing the right things, or the right things quick enough in order to achieve my greatness; greatness always being a vague concept with no legitimate target at which to aim my arrow. As if one day I’m supposed to wake up and feel like I’ve made it—*Opens eyes, sits up in bed, raises fist in the air, exclaims: I am finally the person I’ve been working my entire life to be! Sounds silly doesn’t it?

The older I get, the more often I feel as if I’m starting over. Like if my life were a novel, as my story progresses, there are increasingly more and more chapters. More beginnings and endings. More answers, but always the uncovering of more questions. I have a very strong sense of self and yet I feel as if I’m destined [or doomed—if you’re a glass half empty guy or gal] to walk a path of self discovery for the remainder of my days. Can greatness be achieved by someone like me? Is it within my wide eyed wandering that I find it?

I have been taught, I have been guided and I have been molded. But I have learned with my head in a book, I have carved my own walking stick and I have picked clay from beneath my finger nails. I cannot be anything other than what I am. I do not choose to be. I choose to grow. Let me be me. Let me be orange and yellow and red, but let me brighten my petals. Let me catch fire. At the end of this life, the only thing I take with me is my soul. Let my soul be vivid.


An Enchanted Elixir Named Purpose

Hey there, it’s me
I recognize your beautiful face, those sparkling eyes brimming with fire and lightning
How striking you are when your spaces are filled
Overflowing, bubbling with a magic potion you can’t supply from a bottle
Self-made liquid
Let it flow, let it pour from your mouth, your eyes, your ears
Soak it up with that healthy, vibrant brain and feel it sink in
Feel it sink down into your skin, to your muscles, your bones
You feel it?
Tell me, do you feel it?

Remember this feeling
Hold on to the memory of what it looks like, feels like, tastes like

Dip your weary hands and your tired feet and when you are ready
Submerge yourself
Every aching limb, every last remnant of scar tissue
Be bathed in it
Surrender to its supernatural healing powers
Own the rippling reflection staring back at you
Purpose looks divine on you


New purpose has the ability to fill your empty spaces. Even if only for a moment, you can feel freed from pain, freed from worry, freed from grief. Your heart and soul swelled up like a hot air balloon just before flight, you begin to recognize yourself again.


Beauty Before Me

Sitting with my arms resting upon my folded knees in front of me I can feel the gravel digging into the flesh underneath me. I’ve lost weight.

In my panoramic view I see the makings of a handmade patchwork quilt; countless shades of green, the land broken into various squares and rectangles by lines of wire fencing and grids of farmers fields. I am a humbled spectator watching the sun and clouds work together to create an impressive show featuring their cast favorites, shadows and light.

One rectangle in particular hosts a tribe of mules, their shining golden tails forever dancing in an effort to keep the summer flies at bay. I chuckle because I can’t contain my joy and appreciation for seeing something so impossibly wonderful; this picture that’s been so artfully crafted and laid out on a canvas before me.

I think about moments that have led me here. Flashes of my existence flutter through my brain; the past catching up to the future and landing me in the present. This present moment.

Behind a big beautiful house on a hill, sitting in the gravel drive, I’m seeing for the first time the product of ten years ago, three days ago, yesterday and one moment ago.

The canvas laid out for me, I proudly pick up my brush, stare down my demons and dare them to keep me from painting.


Game Over

I remember all the ups and downs of playing Super Mario Brothers Deluxe on my purple Gameboy Color when I was just a wee little redhead. I recall the excitement I felt each time I surpassed an obstacle that had stopped me on previous attempts. I also recall the moments of frustration as I watched the screen fade to black and those two dreaded words appeared across my screen. In a video game it’s called Game Over, however in real life we prefer to call it starting fresh.

Life is a series of trial and error, starting and restarting. With practice–the idea is to get further ahead than the last. We spend our lives inching closer and closer to attaining the things we believe will make us happy. Sometimes we’re right, and sometimes we couldn’t be more wrong.

We suffer the most heartbreak on those occasions we get the closest we’ve ever been, but in the process we become the strongest us we’ve ever been.

Maybe Game Over isn’t the worst thing in the world. Maybe in actuality it’s the best thing that could ever happen to you.