A group of my co-workers goes walking every day at lunch and today I joined them. As we walked past some bushes, someone wondered aloud about the source of the clicking noise. With investigative skills worthy of Nancy Drew, I peeped under the bush.
Originally, all I saw was something alive and something gray. Because there are a plethora of bunnies in the area, I didn’t initially register anything beyond “gray animal” and skipped directly to the thought, “I didn’t know rabbits made that noise.”
That’s because they do not.
Then I noticed the eyes. The gigantic, yellow eyes. At this point, I would say I was about 95% startled, 4% afraid, and 1% excited. Given the small ratio of excitement to those other common sense emotions, happily yelling “It’s STANLEY!” might not have been the ideal first reaction. But that’s what I did.
(Back story: Stanley is the name we gave to the owl who hung out in the tree outside our cubicle window last summer. No owls have been seen in the area since, and there has been lingering sadness about the owl departure as they provided a great deal of workplace entertainment.)
Even though it was not a cognizant decision, I am happy to report that after my successful detective work, there was at least a small part of me that was smart enough to remove myself from the immediate vicinity of the bird of prey making warning noises.
But despite my desire to leave well enough alone, there appeared to be a Stanley 2 watching over this scene who did not seem to trust my intentions to exit. I was perhaps three steps away from the grounded owl when there was suddenly an owl with an overwhelmingly large wingspan swooping directly in front of my face. I sincerely have no idea where he came from, but I’m guessing he was watching from the building roof and decided to come personally administer a warning.
And this point I moved to 100% terror, which was evidenced by a very unfortunate shriek and the subconscious, split-second decision to use my co-worker as a human shield. I ducked behind him and waited for all predators to depart from the area, promising myself that my days of yelling at local wildlife were officially over. After all this excitement, I decided that I had had enough of nature for the day, cut my walk short, and returned to my cubicle to recount of my adventures from the safety of my computer.