I have to laugh because I was going to start this blog with the clichéd beginning that every author has been warned away from:
It was a dark and stormy night….
But it really was! And I was home alone. Well, almost. My spaniels, Ruby and Emma, kept me company by the fire as I watched, for lack of anything better on the TV, “Forensic Files,” all about real murders and how the investigators found the killer in spite of overwhelming odds, by using expert forensic techniques.
Everything was peaceful, except for what was on television, which I had turned to a low volume. Then a sudden thump that sounded like someone throwing a heavy boot on the window, nearly had the dogs and me jumping out of our skin.
The dogs reacted as expected, which was to leap up and run toward the source of the noise, barking as if their lives depended on sounding as loud and fierce as possible. If I’d been a potential intruder on the outside of the house I would have been over the hills and far away as quickly as I could say, “Hounds of Baskerville.”
I raced from room to room turning on lights. On the back deck, I waved my hand in front of the motion sensor that lights up the driveway. Nothing, nothing, nothing. I got the big flashlight out, saw the bear spray in the drawer, and told myself, “I can always get it later, if there’s a threat outside.”
I turned on the front deck lights. Nothing there.
Thinking it might be Halloween pranksters a few days late, I shone the light down towards the front door to see if anyone was hiding there.
A big bird was crouched on the cement landing in front of the door. He looked just like the one I had photographed in Montana a couple of weeks ago. This is what he looked like as he flew up and into the nearby trees.
Later, I wondered what this owl was doing here, so close to the house. I hear the owls often in the fir trees nearby but they never crash into our windows like so many songbirds do. My conclusion:
He saw the plaster cockatoo that I had brought from Mexico, hanging in the window. With the weeping fig nearby, he wouldn’t realize that the cockatoo was inside the house and that there was a window pane between himself and the bird. He was probably making a swoop down to grab him when he hit the window. He flew away easily enough after sitting, stunned, on the front landing for a while. I really hope he didn’t hurt himself too badly.
I’ve taken the cockatoo down. Don’t want a repeat of last night. Also, after my nerves took such a beating, I’ve decided it’s not a good idea to watch scary shows when I’m home alone.