I wrote this article for the camp newsletter. I think it turned out alright.
On a foggy early October morning, I prepped my students for our foray into the woods of camp. I explained how to focus their binoculars and tried to contain their enthusiasm enough that they would not scare away the birds I was hoping to share with them. Quietly we tip-toed through the wet grass trail, eyes and ears alert. The woods were silent, as if the birds had taken the foggy morning as an opportunity to sleep in.
As we walked without seeing anything, the students began to talk, making it unlikely we would see anything. Annoyed I stopped. I looked up at the trees while waiting for the stragglers to catch up. One branch in particular caught my eye. It had an odd vertical section without smaller branches growing out of it. Intrigued, I peeked through my binoculars.
"Everyone! Look up there, it's an owl," I hissed, as the owl awoke whipping his head around to look at me. Time stood still as he stared at us. Finally, after we had each been able to focus our binoculars on this amazing bird, he silently lifted himself off the branch and flew deeper into the woods.
As we watched him fly away, one boy looked below the owl and yelled, "Deer!" Time started again. As the boys ran after the deer, I could not hide my huge grin. What had been a typical class had turned into an absolutely amazing experience for all of us.
I have seen that Great Horned Owl weekly since that day, however, no sighting has compared to that morning. Nothing could equal the way we stared at each other in the cool, still fog.