Screech Owl

6 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Lites

I saw a screech owl no bigger than a pint carton standing in our birdbath the other day. I’m so glad they have come back. We had them in the back when we first moved into our new house in Florida. 

When we first moved to Titusville, where Bill had a job at the Space Center, we were thrilled with the quietness and the jungle-like terrain. Driving into town on Highway 50 in our Corvair, we crossed the St. John’s River in a rainstorm. It was raining water all right, but it also seemed to be raining frogs. They were all over the highway, and we could see them leaping in the headlights and hear them crunching as we ran over them. There was nothing else we could do. The heavy rain, the darkness all around, and hoping we were getting closer to our destination, but not knowing where overwhelmed us. Fortunately, our two children, one three years old and one eighteen months, were sound asleep in the back seat. 

We finally landed at a motel reserved for us by the company and dragged our bedraggled selves in for a rest. We were in the motel for three weeks while daddy went to work, and mother established a routine with the little ones. We walked down to the river early in the morning. The heat and humidity were like nothing we had ever experienced or even knew existed. Then we went back to the motel room and read books and played with toys until lunch, blessedly they had air conditioning. We took naps in the afternoon after the fierce and loud thunderstorms. We hadn’t experienced that kind of weather either.

It was July when we got into our house. It’s a fine house, but at the time, we had no AC.  The only times we got cool were when we laid out flat on the stone terrazzo floor, stepped into a cold shower, or took our supper down to the river where a pleasant breeze blew. 

There were many frogs at our house, too. They covered the sliding glass doors and were all over the cement pad that would one day become a full-sized patio. These were green tree frogs; sometimes, they were called tree peepers. You could compare their color with a Key lime, which is small and bright. Golden racing stripes ran down both sides. I figured it was genuine gold because why would God use anything else? 

We lived in Imperial Estates, which was surrounded by scrub and pines. At night when we were sleeping with our windows open, we heard the castanet sound of cicadas so loudly we sometimes put our pillows over our heads. But sometimes we heard other creatures, too. Every evening we listened to the nocturnal Chuck Will’s Widow whose call had three notes. The call is unique, but that was a long time ago, and apparently, all the Chuck Will’s Widows from around here have gone someplace else now. 

Another thing we heard in the night was the baying of hunting dogs in the woods behind our house. Oh, yes, it was a lovely jungly place to be, and we loved it and love it still. To me, the calls of the screech owls were long and varied.

None of the other birds or animals stayed around with that owl there. They are voracious. They have many ways of sounding out. Some of them sound like a cry of agony. It scared us all when we first heard it in the night, but then we asked some old-timers what it was, and they said, “screech owls.” Once we knew, we slept right through it. I like knowing that the screech owls’ nest in hollows in trees and sometimes in the larger woodpecker holes. It reminds me of the stories I read as a child where everybody lived in hollow trees and holes in the ground. 

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

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