Owl Moon Near the Tuolumne River


Urban watercyle

Great Gray Owl | Joe Medley, US Forest Service

Somehow I heard it take flight as we stepped from the wet brush into the autumn meadow. It was the afternoon before Thanksgiving and I had enlisted my dad, son Jake, and a dear friend to help survey two twin meadows at the edge of Yosemite National Park. 

Conservationists have been trying to acquire the land for most of my life because the meadows are critical to a healthy Tuolumne River headwaters.  We might just be at the cusp of a deal.

I wasn’t looking for an omen, but suddenly there it was, floating on wide silent wings: our first Great Gray Owl!  It slowly flapped the length of the meadow before disappearing into a large ponderosa.  A misty dusk fell as we finished packing our gear, and feeling blessed as we did, we even expected to hear the owl’s deep hoot.  We never did, but still every night at bedtime Jake wonders and imagines, and I think perhaps I can hear the Great Owl too.

Meadow survey with my son Jake

Meadow survey with my son Jake | Luke Hunt