Before our Thanksgiving dinner, I went for a stroll around the neighborhood, thinking about all the things we can be grateful for, as I walked along the Esplanade and into the Public Garden.
In the Garden, by the Lagoon, I noticed a small crowd of people staring up into an old beech tree with golden leaves. They were mostly speaking Italian but they were gathered around a handsome, blue-eyed photographer with a tripod and a serious zoom lens on his camera. He was speaking English, trying to tell them about owls and squirrels. There was a lot of gesticulating and laughter. I asked him what was going on and he pointed upward, to a large owl sleeping on a branch.
For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to see an owl in a tree. Whenever we drive anywhere where there are woodlands, I pass the time staring into the treetops, hoping to spot an owl. I've seen dozens of hawks but never an owl. This one was big and round, mottled brown, a Barred Owl, I think.
So my wish came true. (And, of course, I had no camera to document this occasion.) The Italians asked me to take a few photos with their cameras as they posed with the photographer, and then they went off, thanking us. The photographer and I introduced ourselves. He told me that he heard that there are three owls in the area. I told him about some of the photos of local owls that I'd seen recently on Universal Hub.
He said that if I came back to that tree tomorrow, I might see the owl again, perhaps in the same tree or one of the other tall, old ones.
He also told me that Snowy Owls are flourishing along the Eastern Seaboard, and then he told me about this guy, who has banded hundreds Snowy Owls at Logan Airport, of all places. I had no idea there were so many local owls.
He gave me his card — he is an extraordinary wildlife (and landscape) photographer and expert. Here's one of his websites, and here's another.
I'll be back in the Public Garden with my binoculars soon. It seems like a very sensible way to spend a chunk of Black Friday.
I went off to an amazing buffet in the Oval Room of the Copley Plaza hotel, where I had not only turkey and all the fixings but also sampled the lobster salad, crab salad, prosciutto, salami, several cheeses, striped agnolotti, a tiny quiche with smoked bacon, cornbread, and a miniature lemon-poppyseed muffin. Then I had an excellent slice of red velvet cake, a few bites of salted chocolate fudge tart, a shot-glass filled with Boston creme pie, and a bite or two of a couple of tiny cupcakes. Herbal tea helped me digest. We walked home.
Right now Possum is hanging out near me on some crinkly tissue paper, Harry is learning about the Patriots in front of the TV with my husband, and Wendy is wandering around with her favorite green snake in her mouth, singing her head off.
Life is fabulous. So many reasons to give thanks.