Most owls are nocturnal – though many prefer the periods of dawn and dusk as these are the best times for hunting down prey.
This owl, however, does not like the dark; and while November this year started off very promising with a cold sharp spell that brought snow and a fabulous super moon, the rains came and with it that feeling of gloom and doom.
So what’s an owl to do?
Like every other time of adversity, we are programmed to fight or flight. My preference would be flight – joining the flocks of birds in their annual migration is so appealing – and in previous years the promise and anticipation of a trip south has helped beat the blues into submission. This year however, flight is not an option, and so I’ve resorted to the tried and tested fightback modus operandi: vitamin D, my ‘loony lamp’ aka light therapy lamp, and time out in the natural light wherever possible (supplemented by swimming) is the most important of all.
These tried and tested remedies do help, -a lot! – but they aren’t a cure for SAD, and as the dark presses in the biggest fight for me is sleep! For reasons that I cannot begin to fathom, this time of year when I have the least energy and almost zero creativity – is often a period when I succumb to insomnia and struggle to get to sleep. It’s a vicious cycle.
I find it difficult to get up in the mornings during the dark months, (I expect most of us do!) That is exacerbated because of my difficulties in falling asleep and that leads to me functioning less and less well (in all areas of my life, including work, home and relationships) and becoming increasingly fatigued.
What is an owl to do?I’m not sure.
But I found this image that made me smile at least!
Parenting isn’t easy. When owlets leave the nest – there’s a sense of mission accomplished, for some tinged with uncertainty and sadness. But what about when they return… does it speak of a secure nest to which they desire to come back to, or is the return out of desperation, necessity, (false) guilt or other reasons?
This owl survived the empty nest -and truth be told – relished it. There was space to move, to think, and to grow. Then one owlet moved back and now the other – a full nest syndrome- but no owlets only owls. It’s an interesting time.
I’m still here -though it’s a month since I last posted. There’s been much to reflect on …and I’m missing my anam cara (soulmate) who helps me with the tough questions.
I love summertime, especially here in Finland. I know most species of owl are dusk/dawn or nighttime creatures, but it’s in strong, warm daylight that I feel most alive. The sun’s natural vitamin D, melatonin and other goodness is good for me …as is the more relaxed pace of life … Long leisurely evenings on the terrace and lazy mornings are so restorative, I find!
I’ve needed this in the wake of Brexit that left me depressed, disillusioned and fearful. I sat in Scotland, watching the votes to leave pour in, too shocked, too numb to do much more than shake my head in despair. And for almost two weeks after I struggled to fall asleep, only to wake up feeling violently and physically sick. For me it’s been akin to watching the rise to power of the fascist right in Germany in the 30s. Until now I’d never really understood how hysteria caused by right wing propaganda can cause a nation to vote in such a off-balance, seemingly patriotic, but actually inherently xenophobic way. I have now seen and experienced it for myself, and I’m fearful of what the next chapters will be – for all humanity!
I know as Christians we owe our loyalty to the King of kings, and we are called to co-build a kingdom so very different from our national and international understanding, but I have to confess that I’ve reacted badly to Christian friends who seem to have accepted the Brexit decision passively or perhaps even voted for the uk to divorce itself from the greatest peacemaking force Europe has ever known, and ending up seeing the EU as something awful – demonic even -akin to Babylon!
My heart is heavy, even if God is good and the sun is shining and there’s a bright twinkle in my eyes. Keep me in your prayers, and ask for all the qualities of the owl -wisdom, perception and truth, to be in the forefront as I process with God.
This owlet is currently on holiday – staying with a friend – the best of friends actually- and in the most wonderful house, with the most comfortable of beds. I’ve slept so well here – all the sea air, the long walks with dogs, the relaxing in different ways, and ironically a lack of reading have really done me good and given me head space, and until last night I’ve slept very well.
Last night however the skull theatre crept up on me – first time in ages – and stupidly found myself worrying about whether my friend would know who to contact if I died in the night (easily remedied by writing it down!).
Owlets have to learn to fly. It’s a risky business – with no short cuts, but hopefully a few soft landings at least! But once they have mastered the knack of flying- I imagine they love it – soaring silently just for the fun of it AND of course to stalk their prey. I’m fairly sure the fun factor is key for owlets at least!
This tiny owlet (can’t remember the species) touches my heart :)
This owlet is flying again tomorrow. To a northern nation that is actually south of where she is now. It’s been a year since she was last there – and June is her preferred month for going – so it feels a bit like an annual migration, a time to dip the toes in new, clear, UN-muddied waters, and to take in deep breaths of a different world.
This can have two very different meanings in English. It can be a synonym for “clear off!” (Go away, get out of here!) but more usually it means to spring clean, declutter.
Yesterday in Helsinki was “siivouspäivä” – literally cleaning day, though clear out day comes closer to the meaning. It’s a day to clear out the closets, under the sink and bed, and set unwanted belongings free! The parks were full of people selling off unwanted stuff – usually for next to nothing- and sometimes the money went to good causes, the Naistenpankki (women’s bank for one) or eg to two young women’s travel fund! I just had to support that!
hesperinpuisto was the best park we went to as its in the wealthier part of the city so the goods being discarded were generally very high quality – but the other park had much more random stuff which was fun!
what I liked most was how organised the set up was. The parks had charity shop vans and recycling skips – so if you didn’t want to sit and sell you could still declutter , and at the end of the day sellers could also donate their goods and avoid recluttering their homes again. And there was a really festive feel to the whole day!
this owl likes decluttering – getting rid of surplus and unwanted posessions is very liberating. Yesterday though I was a buyer – new trousers for 10c (which my friend shortened fir me this morning!) and a couple of new shirts. Best Buy though was a new flask – turquoise – which I’m using today on my way home!
The term manic depressive has largely gone out of fashion. We are more used to hearing about bipolar syndrome or dis-order. I’m fairly sure this owl doesn’t have this … I do suffer (sometimes very badly) from SAD (winter depression) and have to make the most of any available daylight and take high dose vitamin D to survive the dark period. Interestingly, I rarely recognise how much I’ve missed the colour and shades if colour that light gives, until spring hits – every sense is opened, and I come alive!
At first this owl has to bask in the light – sniffing in all the aromas, new sounds, and all the different greens of Spring. Then the warmth comes and for me that’s very much a time to recharge….and as I do so a manic spell comes. I become super productive in a really good way. Windows get washed, things that I’ve procrastinated about for months are prioritised. I sleep better (in spite of the light) because I use my body more. And I take a lot more time to BE in more positive ways.
The wisdom of the owl has taught me that this is a good season for me; a real gift. To be unwrapped everyday – sometimes slowly, carefully with deep anticipation, other days fast and furiously because I can’t wait!