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Always.

Never go outside at night without a flashlight.  Even with lights or markers on the path.  I have carried one mostly, but this was right out the back door, I even turned the back light on.  I was carrying a kitchen towel.  I put on my neoprene/rubber high boots.  No coat, no gloves.

I should have had that %#$& light.

Late last night, the chickens were making some noises, so I went out to investigate. Not that I haven’t done this like a million times. However this time, I tripped, and what I tripped ON became the problem.

How many people have a collision with a boat, in the night, in the desert.  In the winter.  Me! At least it had nothing to do with ice or snow.

The coop is illuminated, and bright enough it obscured close up stuff.  Without a flashlight I really did it.

The boat I got as a project for my late husband- when he was sliding down the slippery slope of life before he passed.  I figured it would give him another reason to fight on and live.  Nope.  So now he is gone and the the boat is still here.  It waits (like me) for it’s next part of life to begin.  It is right next to the path, kind of between one chicken coop and the barn in front.

I don’t know if it was I just got too close to the two tire stack that the trailer hitch is on or what.  I can tell you that it was not good.

Once you have your feet out from underneath you, falling forward, you land on the bow, on your chin.  Next, my partially fused- not surgically stabilized neck which was broken in 1988 goes crack crack crack!  Then my back.  Crack crack crack!!!  (Note, my back and particularly my neck NEVER crack)  All the while I am flailing about trying to get my feet back underneath me, realizing that my hands can’t get a hold of anything either.  I begin to hear some noise.  Then at this next point, I realize that noise is ME. Ugh!  I don’t know if it was a mixture of not pg words, or plain disgust.  I do know I wasn’t calling for help, no one would ever hear me.  We live very rural.  While there is a road in front, the neighbors, and my son are all sleeping at this point – not outside, certainly not hurt and knowing I have to get back indoors.  Silent except for my noise and my cat Hawaii who hears me and begins to wail.  I must have REALLY sounded great!  Poor cat!

Finally, I rotate over the bow, which I am stuck on like a fish on a stick. I get my left arm over my head finally, too late, and roll over my chest, my one good arm and drop on my back.  Landing partially on the hitch, on the tires, then finally half on the ground.  Stopping when I am still half stuck on the tires.  OMG!

Now why did I think I had to go outside?

I did sleep, on and off.  I need to heal.  I think the spine and neck are ok, just jarred beyond belief.

I would not suggest anyone else do this. Ever.

The friendly Great Horned Owl kid earlier in the year.

The friendly Great Horned Owl kid earlier in the year.

In November, we had horrific winds.  85 mph, which are hurricane force.  Sadly, the Great Horned Owl youngsters, who were 6 months old at the time, disappeared.  Now it has been nearly 4 months since, and not a day goes by that I do not mourn their loss.  I whistle for the youngster probably daily, knowing he is gone. At dawn that November morning, looking out the living room window, the wind was white.  And horizontal.  And HORRIFIC.  It was very  scary to say the least.  My biggest fear then was that one of the old trees would give up and crash through our house.  Those trees must GO this year.  I wondered how the owls would fare.  Then, as the days, then the weeks went by with no sign of them, it became clear, even to my mind (which was oh so much happier living in the “land of denial”) had to accept the youngsters were gone.  The parent owls, the speech impediment owl, and his wife – spent time flying around calling, sometimes loudly, sometimes busily, perching in different far off trees out of their usual haunts, all the time calling.  All the time with no answer back.

We were all very sad.

Tonight, I heard a strange owl discussion going on.  It is cold once again, snow is likely.  As I opened the back door, the booming voice of the granddad owl rang out.  He was perched in the owl tree above our house.   I stood still, listening.  Granddad and his wife moved a half mile away 3 years ago, this is only the second time I have seen him since. Much to my joy I could hear a young owl answer, “screeeeeeee” in the distance, calling twice. I couldn’t get into my boots and coat fast enough! I went out and whistled. The youngster I had helped earlier last year would whistle back to me. That young owl’s presence was magical. I whistled several times, no answer. The light pole on my mom’s long driveway had been a favorite spot for it to roost. I chanced using the spotlight and an owl was there! I stood in the dark, the sky pitch black. The stars and heavens brilliantly lit. I see a shooting star. Then above my head, from the pole, the owl flew, dipping down over my head and up to the owl tree. It never called back, but it was a young owl.  I don’t know if this owl is one of the two that were raised in the owl tree – or are related to the granddad owl. Either way, I am thrilled and blessed to have seen them tonight.