Nature writing with my students

By Neva Knott

Prompt: The image of an owl soaring through the night.

I love the darkness and the damp wonder of fall in the Pacific NW–it’s a time of secrets, not those we fear to tell but a time nature reveals her secrets in the details of changing color. Soft grays of dawn unfold to misty mornings that eventually dry and the crayon blue sky of October carries the day to the evening. In the evening, the day birds in the holly tree near my house stop, suddenly. The sky fades back to grey and the temperature drops as the dogs andI take our last walk before dark. Even down town, with the city’s lights ablaze, a fall night is deep and solid and black.

This is the time of deer and coyote and owls. To see an owl in the urban wilderness is a rare gift. I have known this secret only once, in another Pacific NW night. December, in Portland, and that owl found refuge from the snow storm on the branch outside my window. I found him there, feathers aflutter and neck swiveling, leaning toward my secrets as I considered his.

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