Embrace the Essence of Italian Bliss

A Journey to Serenity and Simplicity

I Saw an Owl

I Saw an Owl

Sitting on the hammock, with my feet dangling and a slipper casually discarded on the ground, surrounded by the scent of grass and the touch of the gentle eastern breeze, I watched the early morning twilight accompanied by the hoot of an owl.

Still in my pajamas, I swayed back and forth with my steaming herbal tea in hand, occasionally closing my eyes to discern the direction of the chirping.

A few months ago, I managed to see it up close: elusive and silent as a thief in the heart of the night. Its stout, round figure perched in front of me on a wall of our abode for a brief moment to keep me company. Then, in absolute silence and without stirring a single wisp of air, it flew away, disappearing into the darkness of the surrounding woods.

Just as it had arrived, calm and unexpected, as light as a leaf carried by the wind, it vanished under the starry sky of an ordinary summer night. I still remember its perfectly oval silhouette, that occasionally high-pitched, almost melancholic song, getting lost among the ash trees.

In the days that followed, I searched for it at sunset, among the perches, old abandoned farmhouses, and barns. I needed its presence. I wanted to see it again, marvel at its graceful movements, and that solitary flight filled with regality. But the queen of the night did not appear again.

One autumn Sunday, taking advantage of the fact that Aunt Gilda had come to visit, I asked her if among her vast repertoire of tales and stories, there was one about the owl. She looked at me with a smile, sat down in the armchair next to Milly the cat, and took her inseparable knitting needles and skeins from her colorful bag. Then she began:

Ah, the owl! What a fantastic creature! The noblest of all the creatures of the night! Unfortunately, not all ancient peoples looked upon it favorably. For many, it symbolized death, darkness, and misfortune, bearing hunger and disease.

I’m not sure if these stories are true”, she said while fixing a fallen stitch, “but it’s certainly better not to encounter it on the night of Epiphany, a time when animals gain the power of speech and can curse the humans who dare to eavesdrop on their conversations. So, if I were you, I’d avoid seeking it out on that dayshe added playfully

“And it’s better not to crash into the window!”

“Why? What happens?” I asked while retrieving a ball of yarn that had slipped under the cat’s claws. “Because it means that a disaster will soon strike that house!

How much gossip, Aunt! Tell me something beautiful“.

Well, in ancient Greece, it had a slightly different fate. All thanks to the goddess Athena, who carried one owl on her shoulder. It was thanks to her that this bird became a symbol of wisdom among the people.

Various folk legends also tell of old sages, kings, and tribal leaders who, at nightfall, went into the forest to consult it and make the wisest decisions to guide their people.

But there’s more: until not many decades ago, in northern Europe, it wasn’t uncommon for university students to bring owl-shaped objects as lucky charms during exams. Others claimed that it represented understanding and the sight of light after solving a problem. Those who managed to see it acquired the gift of clairvoyance...”

I saw it once!” I interrupted hwe, all excited, “and very up close, too.

Then you were lucky; it’s not easy to encounter it. They are very shy and unsociable creatures towards mankind“.

But I’m a woman; maybe that’s why it came to me.

You’re right. In fact, women have always had a special relationship with nocturnal animals, which, by the way, made men incredibly jealous. That’s why they came up with all those absurd stories about witches“.

What stories, Aunt? I want to know everything“.

During the Middle Ages, it was a widespread belief that enchantresses used these birds to perform their evil spells and had the ability to transform into owls to move around undisturbed in the dark, gathering poisonous herbs to use in their potions. But, of course, none of it is true. What do you think, instead? Is the owl good or bad?

The unmistakable sound of the rustling leaves of a tree tickled my ear. I turned abruptly to the open window, convinced it was her, the owl, who, eavesdropping on our conversation, somehow wanted to intervene.

But outside, there was no one. Perhaps it was the wind, which usually picked up in those late autumn afternoons before sunset, forcing me to rush outside to protect whatever I could, or else it would carry everything away.

Shhh, listen” Aunt Gilda said, slowly getting up from the armchair and coming towards me.

I had no doubt: it was her, with her unmistakable melody, announcing the arrival of the darkness, and in that precise moment, I understood that the owl was good.

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