On the morning walk with the two boyz we found a dead baby owl. It was spread out on the soft earth legs and wings akimbo as if it had suddenly fallen, mid-flight, into a deep and peaceful sleep. A hawk had probably chased it until it was exhausted and its small heart simply gave up. I found myself picking up the poor wee thing with a tenderness that I can't explain. You see chicks that have fallen lifeless out of their nests almost every day but there was something quite exceptional about the young owl. Even in death everything about it exuded simple majesty; the noble head, the graceful wings,the powerful beak, the infinitely varied tones of its feathers. Its sheer privileged perfection overwhelmed me. I laid the little body down under the shade of a tree and found myself shedding a single private tear . Amid the thunder of life there was time in the early morning silence to take stock of the fact the farm has lost one of natures genuine aristocrats.
When the family came down for breakfast they asked me if I'd seen any owls this morning. I said no. It was only half a lie.