Foxglove Moments

Alan's haunting novel of the AIDS epidemic, As If Death Summoned, was released on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2020, and is a finalist for the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards. Watch the book trailer here. Read the reviews here.


Dashing out the door yesterday morning, I was stopped in astonishment.

Up in the branches sat a magnificent owl, staring at me with an almost ethereal calm.

"Oh, wow," I whispered to him, "Don't move." I dropped my briefcase, unslung the camera from my shoulder and hurriedly removed it from its case.

This was a sign, I was sure, a sign for the day beginning. The owl was a symbol of wisdom to the ancient Greeks, a sacred bird from the other world, all seeing, all knowing...He was also a symbol of death's approach to the native Northwest coast peoples, but, if given the choice, I was feeling partial to the Greeks at the moment.

He sat up there, calmly observing me as I fumbled with the camera and kept begging him, "Don't fly away. Please don't fly away."

And he didn't. It was as if he knew that I meant him no harm, that we were brothers in spirit and that I honored his presence, that he and I were fellow creatures, both of us belonging to this hillside, equal in our right to be here, although I was the one stuck with paying the property taxes.

Or, maybe he was thinking, "This klutz can't be a threat to me. He can't fly. He can barely operate that camera--Oh, look, he's trying to take my picture with the lens cap on. How pathetic."

Anyway, I got his picture, determined he was a symbol of wisdom, and tootled off to work for the day.




[First posted: November 19, 2014]

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