The Heart of the Owl
I hung a photograph on a wall in my home recently. Oddly enough it wasn’t a photograph that I had captured. It was taken by a dear friend.
When I first laid eyes on the image some months ago it spoke to me. The words were not clearly audible, but I knew that in a matter of time the message would be deciphered, and the words would resound.
The moment came in the early hours, late last year. Words filled my head and my heart and moved my soul. I heard the words with such clarity I knew action needed to be taken and I felt I was ready.
I made a bold choice to walk a different path and with a sense of calm and reason I uttered three words “I’ve had enough.”
Those words said, a mixture of emotions ran through me and actions unravelled, some clumsily and some with absolute precision. Then it struck me, all but one action had been taken. I needed to hang that photograph.
I had been waiting for the right signs to guide me to the moment, and to the place it I would install it. It did take time, but it eventually made its way from the corner of my home office, facing inwards, to a wall of my choosing, facing anyone who may have the privilege to gaze upon it.
It was through salty tears that I realised where I would hang it and when. I was sad because this moment was as much about loss as it was about new beginnings. I was leaving behind aspects of a life I wore like a comfy cashmere wrap and other aspects which ripped out my heart and eroded my very being. With that sadness also came a sense of liberation and at that moment my tears stopped and I smiled.
Years of care, commitment, duty and responsibility have etched lines on my face and left scars, some virtual and others very real on my body, as it enters its 50th year.
I am a nurturer. I am known to be reliable and down-to-earth. I am acutely aware of the feelings of others, often to the detriment of my own. I am comforted by order and structure and will more likely avoid confrontation and conflict than invoke it. Being kind, loving and compassionate comes naturally as does acceptance.
Let me tell you about the image. It speaks to me and of promises I have made. They are promises I have made to myself and to others. When I look at the photograph I don’t just see…. I hear, I feel, I taste, and a heady scent consumes me.
I see wisdom and desire. Not desire in the passionate sense, it is more profound than that. If adoration, devotion, care and respect each had a sound, a note…. I would hear beautiful music. I do hear beautiful music. Above all though, I feel. I feel unconditional love, but it is of a love lost. Each of those notes, if you will, now come together to create a striking sonata.
The image I have carefully fixed in place is that of an owl. A masked owl. For me though, my mask has been ripped off, not peeled away but torn and discarded.
The Masquerade is over, my heart and soul are laid bare.
I am now writing the last few paragraphs of a chapter in my life which I knew had to draw to a close.
I have given, and I have received. I have loved, and I have lost. I am richer, stronger, at peace and above all, I am calm.
The owl has a downward pose. It is respectful, as am I. Its eyes almost closed, yet open enough to acknowledge its surrounds and as if to pay tribute. Its delicate plumage is so very intricate. A heart frames its features. My heart forms a frame around memories I have created, and it beats for memories yet to be. So many yet to be created.
There is no colour, there need not be, this moment is purely black and white. Ebony and ivory, a raven’s feathers falling on virgin snow, the plumage from a Pacific Gull washed onto a pristine beach.
It is black and white.
The heart of the owl.
This image is subject to Copyright and is used with the permission of Annette Marner.