Here, in the heart of the winter, we woke in the snowy silence of pre-dawn to the serenading “Who-who” of a pair of Great Horned Owls. One was in the Willow off our bedroom balcony, the other was in the Poplar in the front of the house. For over half an hour we cuddled to keep warm under the blankets just enjoying them call back and forth to each other.
The brightness of the full moon had kept me up all night, as it often does, no matter how dark I make the room. So I laid there thinking about the owl, an ulchabhán, the striking figure in Celtic myth, a symbol of the great crone of winter known as the Cailleach.
The full moon, a candle that seems to spring back to flame, the call of the owl… it was an evocative and prescient day. Naturally, I had to celebrate the owl by painting her image.