As I’ve mentioned a couple of times before, I live in the middle of the city on the edge of a historic cemetery with large mature trees. The view is really beautiful and all the windows of our row home overlook it. Recently, a large owl has taken up residence there and I often see him when glancing out the window in the early morning and evenings. At night, you can hear his signature “hoo… hoo…” just outside the bedroom window. Thankfully, it’s just a few times and not something incessant and creepy that’s happening all night long, but it’s a notable change. The previous “neighbors” were far quieter since all of them have been deceased for quite some years. Ancient cultures saw the owl as a wise ruler of the night who could see souls, often helping spirits move on to the next place. This has also given the owl some ominous associations with death, but it’s mostly just a symbol of transition. Some say, it’s a signal that change is near.
Though Philippe and I find the presence of the owl rather fascinating, our little dog Phineas is not amused. While heading back to the house after a walk, he’ll hear the hoots from the owl and then perk up his basenji ears for a moment before making a mad dash for the front door to get inside. This might seem a bit spooky since dogs are said to sense things we can’t, but he’s generally always suspicious and easily spooked by anything that changes his routine. To be honest, we’re not entirely sure if he’s scared or just pissed off, but we find ourselves reasurring him that he has nothing at all to fear from the dreaded “hoo hoo monster.” He doesn’t seem entirely convinced, but has grown more used to the idea of the new inhabitant outside the window. Though it makes me think, since nearly all myths and legends associated with owls say they’re a source of wisdom, one does has to wonder what sort of secrets he might be keeping.
Like most things, I simply find the stories that cultures have created for owls fascinating. It’s intriguing to think the owl showed up as a wise harbinger to signal that change is on the horizon. At the very least, there’s just one more day of this month of natural beauty to go before beginning a brand new adventure! It’s always exciting to start a new month and I hope you’ll be joining me for whatever comes next. Change is what keeps life interesting and I love how it helps keep my mind busy with the fun of learning something new. I don’t yet have a clue what I’ll be painting and writing about in March as it’s theme-free at the moment, but I’m excited to find out what happens next. I’m still learning a lot in this art journey and have so much more to discover. But with practice and dedication, I’ll continue to learn and, who knows, maybe one day I’ll actually feel as confident and wise as the owl in the cemetery.
About the Doodlewash
Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Red Orange, Indian Yellow, Olive Green, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Deep, and Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon with black ink in a little red cloth hardbound l’aquarelle journal I found in a Paris shop.
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!