Chapter 10 - Wild Sushi
It was hard to do. Sushi was taken
out to Sushi's tree. This time when he moved from tree to tree, we didn't
retrieve him. Quietly we sat and watched as Sushi practiced flying and
investigating the world around him. That night at dusk, we went to the house and
left Sushi out in the woods for his first night in the wild.
At 3 A.M., I was tiptoeing through
the dew damp grass in my nightie, with a flashlight, out to the houseboat. Momma
was worried about the owl.
Sushi hadn't moved from the branch where we last saw him. He was softly making
his crying sounds. "Weeeeooooooooh! Weeeeeooooooh!" Sushi was scared! But, he
didn't come down from his branch. When I called up to him to let him know I was
there, I startled a giant Woodstork who was nesting quietly in the very top of
the tree. With a bloodcurdling scream, the Woodstork took off across the marsh
like a prehistoric pterodactyl. All I had succeeded in doing was frightening the
I stumbled back to the house, wet
with dew, and climbed back in the warm bed. I had tried not to wake Steve. But,
Steve gave me that LOOK. I can feel the LOOK in the dark. The look that says, "I
married a crazy woman, and now I have to live with my mistake." But, he didn't
In the morning I left Sushi a bowl of
catfood. I kept leaving work and bringing him treats. But, for three days, to
our knowledge, he stayed right there on the same branch and didn't eat.
On the fourth morning of being late to work, I stood under the tree for half an
hour waving a big, fat mud minnow in the air. Sushi finally came down and ate
the fresh minnows swimming in his bowl, cussing me in owlese the whole time.
Sushi hadn't hunted. He was still
dependent upon us for food. Once again, I felt like a bad mommie. It became a
regular practice for us to leave tid-bits of food on the deck for the owl when
we went to work. At least now he was eating the food we left. Everything was
going alright. The owl was living free, but it wasn't happy.
Birds attacked the owl regularly, now
that he lived outside. He became more alert and very watchful for attacks. Sushi
became more aloof from us. He was mad at us again. The owl would just sit up in
a branch and stare morosely at us. He stopped garbling his owl talk.
Suddenly, the weather turned bad.
Really bad. Gale force winds, and heavy driving rain settled over us. A tropical
depression had moved in on the island. Would we find a dead, wet pile of
feathers when this was over? Sushi had never weathered a storm outside.
Especially a storm this bad.
We went out in yellow rain slickers, calling the owl in the storm. But, he had
disappeared. All through the storm, I kept going out at all hours of the day and
night, like Katheryn Earnshaw in Wuthering Heights wandering over the stormy
moors calling H E A T H C L I F F! Only I was staggering around in the wind and
rain calling... S O O O O O O S H I !!! S O O O O O O O O S H I!!!
Dejected, I would go back to the
house, dripping wet in my yellow rain slicker and boots, looking like a
depressed and soggy Paddington Bear. Steve would give me that LOOK. The LOOK
that says, "She's going to catch pneumonia out there trying to find an owl!"
But, he didn't say anything. Steve knew I was suffering. And, he was worried
about Sushi, too. We cared deeply for the bird.
"The owl is a good example of a
creature that possesses special powers not found in other animals (McGaa 1990)" -
The Owl Pages - Owls in Lore and Culture
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