Not yet spring: Notes from the farm

A movement catches the cor­­ner of my eye just before dark on an early February evening. I glance up from my seed and fruit tree catalogs to see the silhouette of an owl in flight—steady, silent, strong.

I forget to breathe for a moment as he glides low and slow, barely five feet off the snow-covered ground. One effortlessly buoyant wing beat, and he melds into the woods.

Whose woods these are I think I know, for I hear the barred owl call from them each night. The birds are loquacious at this time of year, as males seek their mates and prepare for the spring season of egg laying and owlet feeding.