owl wake

One of the things I desperately love about San Francisco is how normal I seem here, to the point that my vanilla-ness is a standing joke among most of my friends. I love it because I spent 25 years in Australia trying without success to explain myself, my jokes, the way I dressed, the books I read, the subjects I studied, the music and movies I liked, the way I wore my hair and every other perceptible feature of my personality to audiences ranging from the bored but antagonistic to the outright hostile. That blew.

Here, if for example I am mourning an owl, I can be reasonably sure my neighbors will also be mourning, and will throw a wake and bring candles and cookies and flowers to remember her by. Which is exactly what happened last night. It was as Bernal as could be, complete with communal hooting. Julia especially liked that part.

The fourth best news from the owl wake was that Bronwyn found and read a perfect Mary Oliver poem, but I can’t find it online. The third best news was that peregrine falcons are nesting on the hill! The second best news is that Great Horned Owls are nesting in Glen Park, and that they’ve hatched and are raising three chicks!!! Twenty four hours later I am still overjoyed about this.

The best news isn’t mine to share, but you can be sure that when owlets are only the second best news, it’s a pretty damn good party. Owl grief, owl joy. I kept thinking of that great line from Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything: “Life wants to be. Life doesn’t want to be much. From time to time, life goes extinct. Life goes on.”

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