Winter's Stare

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Sue and I went for a walk along the North-East pier of the Welland Canal, stretching out into Lake Ontario, a week ago Monday. There are two paths along that trail. The center path is a service road and off to the left is a gravel path that walks along the canal. We had reached the end where the gravel path joins up with the service road and there on top of a large dead branch of a stately tree was a female snowy owl, bathing in the warmth of the morning sun. Even though I packed my camera and took a number of shots, more beautiful was seeing this snowy swivel her head and catching her yellow eyes through the lens of a binocular. The next day I got a call from a friend who said, “You’re never going to believe it, but guest what I got?” My first response, was “a snowy owl,” thinking he saw the same one we did. He saw a female snowy owl, but this one was right here at Forty-mile creek. I woke up early the next morning hoping I could still catch it myself, but it was nowhere to be seen, which did not surprise me. A couple of years ago I saw three snowy owls at Forty-mile creek, and they only stayed one day. Then last Sunday someone else came up to me in church and asked if I had heard about the snowy owl, and I asked where? He said, “In Hamilton, people had been coming to check it out.” I then told him about the one at Forty Mile, and the one along the Welland Canal peer, and we were both excited on their return. At the congregational meeting I received another text and this came from someone else who caught a great shot with their cell phone of a male snowy owl sitting on the large steel walkway over a pond at Fifty Point. The all white owl looked straight at the couple with a laser yellow stare. I’m guessing the owls migrated south because waters and lakes further up north have all already frozen over. And I’m guessing that a few of them will return to familiar nesting grounds in a field just south of the new St. Catharines hospital. Just as Canadian Geese flying in formation at one time announced the arrival of fall, so the return of the snowy, announces that winter has come. Our Ministry Coordinator informed me that a couple of snowies have even made their way into Mountainview’s foyer. And what a glorious stare winter can have.     

Alice Posthumus