Sunday, June 16, 2013

Forever the Optimist...

Back again with the latest segment of...
Random Facts and Tidbits.

Random Courting the Flame 
Fact

The first draft of Courting the Flame was over 150,000 words long and it wasn’t half the story that the final draft of 67,000 words turned out to be. It just goes to show you, I guess. Sometimes less is more. Of course, it took three years and 100 plus revisions to finally figure that out. Thank you for your patience and guidance along the way, Claudia. Couldn’t have done it without you, m’dear.

And now, onto another Diana DeCameron…Pellet?!:

Let me start by saying that I am, by no means, an expert on the topic I am about to discuss. Actually, I didn’t even know that it was a topic worthy of discussion until the very moment it happened and I decided to discuss it. But those are always some of the best blog post topics, don’t you think? An entire discussion wrapped around a particular moment in your day that makes you go…hmmmm—my life seems to be filled with them. Sooooo…where do I begin?

Well, I suppose my garden is the best place to start, considering that I was in my garden when I found the “item” in question. It was Memorial Day weekend and I decided to work on my flowerbeds. I’d purchased some beautiful annuals that I was eager to sink into the ground, which is exactly what I did…right after I raked up the mulch and did some much needed weeding.

And there it was…this thing that “demanded” my attention. It literally popped out of the mulch and placed itself on the ground directly in front of me. Ewwwwww! I shivered as I poked a hesitant finger at it. Instantly, I called in the “ewwwww-gross” experts—my boys. My oldest son was the second to poke at the mysterious "thing."

“Do you think it’s a cocoon?” I asked.

He wrinkled up his nose. “That’s no cocoon, Mom! That’s a fur ball!”

I tilted my head sideways in a “Don’t-be-silly-we-don’t-own-a-cat” sort of way. Clearly, he was onto something, though. Upon closer inspection, this was fur that we were examining. I used two sticks and quickly pulled apart the gray-colored strands. It took a couple of tries, but eventually I discovered something more than just fur; I came across a tiny claw, the size of which might belong to, say…a mouse. And then, BOOM! It hit me. I finally realized what we had. This was no fur ball. It was an owl pellet!

Now, coming across the regurgitated indigestible remains of an owl’s diet may not seem like it, but if you’re the outdoorsy-type, (which I am) it’s a pretty awesome find. In my almost 44 years of existence, this is the first owl pellet that I’ve ever found. But it wasn’t the owl pellet, itself, that left me speechless as much as it was the location of the owl pellet. As I held it in my hands (yes, it was in my hands), I dropped my head back to discover that the owl pellet had been hiding in the mulch directly beneath the window of my office…the one where I do all of my writing.

To properly put things into perspective, there are no trees anywhere near my house. There is a heavily wooded area nearby my house, but nowhere near close enough for an owl to sit in a tree, hack up a pellet, and then toss it into my garden. It’s simply not physically possible. And so this is where the real questioning began. How did an owl pellet come to rest in the mulch just below my writing window?

And more importantly…why?

Intrigued, I did some research on owl pellets, but never once did I come across any information stating that owls cough up pellets while in flight. The only assumption I could make, therefore, was that the owl must have been resting when it worked up the undigested bones and fur. But where, where was it resting? My theory? It was on the edge of the roof…above my writing window. And for an avid owl enthusiast like myself, this most definitely constituted one of those “particular moments in your day that make you go hmmmm.” 

Truly.

But wait…it gets better.

Remember when I told you that I found “an” owl pellet buried in the mulch beneath my window? Well, I lied. A week later, I found a second owl pellet. That’s right, two owl pellets, both in the same location. Fully confident with my hypothesis for “how” it got there, the bigger, more meaningful question now became…“why?” Always a firm believer in the notion that all things happen for a reason, I approached my new question in this manner;

Diana’s Owl List:
  1. I love them.
  2. I’ve always been fascinated by them.
  3. I’ve had several one-on-one encounters with them, each encounter forever etched in my memory with a very discernible “hmmmm…” written in the margins.
  4. Owls are known symbols of the moon and nighttime, which as an interesting aside, so, too, is the roman goddess “Diana.” I’m just sayin’…
  5. Owls have long been associated with magic, darkness, prophecy, and wisdom.
  6. And finally, an owl totem is known to give you the power to extract secrets.

Yeah. It’s quite the list, I know...but what am I to make of it? What answer can I possibly come up with as to why my owl friend is choosing to perch high up on the roof above my office window (which is where I do all of my writing and creating in the wee hours of the morning)? Well, one thing’s for certain; this is no coincidence. He’s most definitely there for a reason, but what exactly he is trying to tell me, I may never know. I am certain there’s something more to his pellets than just undigested fur and bones, however. Am I, therefore, to extract some secret meaning, some hidden omen from their strategic placement in my garden?

Although I may never get my answer, there is one thing that I do know. Since I’ve started my journey as a writer, I’ve learned to put faith in my instincts—to finally listen to that little voice inside of me that had gone unheard for so many years. So maybe that’s it. Perhaps the answer is to keep digging deeper and deeper until I uncover all of my truths. Perhaps his visits are just a reminder. All I know is that since I’ve found the owl pellets, I have chosen to write with my window open. I have also chosen to whisper a friendly “Goodnight, my friend,” through the screen each night just before I go to bed.

Hey, (shoulder shrug) not everybody has an owl friend who chooses to hack up undigested fur and bones in their garden in the wee hours of the morning. Forever the optimist, I’m going to bank on it being something positive.

As always…
Until we meet again, make it a great week!
Oh, and more Facts and Tidbits to come.