a reminder we are part of something bigger.

It’s easy to be distracted right now. It’s hard to pull ourselves away from the news, as we simultaneously grapple in disruptive challenges to every day rhythms in our constructed lives. Usually, I have no problems taking a break and going outside. But right now it’s hard. I’m on conference calls all day, and I hardly notice the differences between days since I go to bed, wake up, and work in the same space.

But, it’s spring in Alaska! Each day gets longer—by more than five minutes! Migrating birds are returning even though our borders are closed. Thankfully, birds are not acknowledging the no-fly orders. So when I find myself struggling to go outside, I remember that the world is bigger than the screens and news feeds, conference calls and Zoom dates.

Last night, I was enjoying the lingering snow in Anchorage that allows for spring cross-country ski conditions that are some of the best of the season. I saw a dark creature on a branch in front of me, and before long, the creature became an owl—a great grey owl! I skied the loop, and came up a small rise to look right at the owl, less than ten feet from me. The first thing I noticed was the texture of the feathers. As I was admiring the owl, it swooped above so I could feel the breath of air between my head and its wings. It flew past, landed in a different tree. A reminder I am part of something bigger, older, wiser, than anything I can comprehend.

Partial wing of Great Gray Owl. Photo: Natalie Dawson
Full view of Great Gray Owl. Photo: Natalie Dawson
Great Gray Owl takes flight. Photo: Natalie Dawson

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