I was walking back to the house from the storage shed when something caught my eye in a patch of prickly pear cactus. I saw a small block of wood wedged beneath (which isn't so unusual, given that Michael often cuts lumber and wood scraps linger in the landscape where he has cut them.) I noticed something else, though. There seemed to be something attached to it: a piece of metal.
I carefully twisted my body and snaked my arm between the prickly pear paddles to get to it. I pulled it out and shook off some of the dirt. I almost couldn't believe what I saw. It was an owl.
I ran to the house to get Michael.
"You are not going to believe what I just found!" I held up the owl.
"Where did you find that?" he asked, his eyes widening.
I showed him. In all the times he has worked outside just beside that spot, he had never seen it. It was right beside our driveway. We have lived in this house for nearly two years.
When I first met Michael, he had just finished building a magical little casita which he called the Turtle House. Every unit in the little community we lived in had a totem animal that the resident chose for the space. When I moved into the Turtle House (which I called Casa de la Tortuga), there were turtle totems everywhere. Ceramic turtles. Metal turtles. Stone turtles. A turtle tile mosaic in the floor. My friends and family started giving me turtles while I lived there. The casita had a turtle quality to it. It was cave-like and introspective. Safe and solitary. I felt like I had receded into my own shell, which at the time I desperately needed. It was healing for me.
Nine months later, I was ready to move on. Another unit had opened up, one facing north and filled with light. I christened it the Butterfly House (Casa de la Mariposa). Here was a space that swirled with the energy of transformation and rebirth. Again, it was exactly what I needed. I filled the space with butterflies made of glass and paper and wood.
Michael's homesite in Cascabel was dubbed the Raven House (Casa del Cuervo) in honor of the majestic black-feathered visitors who frequently graced the hilltop when he was working or eating dinner there.
When we moved into this home, we weren't sure what animal totem belonged to this place, if there even was one. Soon we heard the mystical call of an owl late at night and saw his giant form perched atop the saguaro outside our bedroom window. On another evening, we had three or four owls perched on nearby saguaros and one of our chimneys. One night Michael woke me to see an owl sitting on the patio wall, not 10 feet from where we slept, staring into our bedroom. There was no doubt what animal totem belonged here.
We had already been drawn to owl figures. My sister found a small ceramic owl, I found a green stained glass owl, and Michael found a painted stone owl all in the same thrift store. Before we even bought our house, I had fallen in love with an abstract owl sculpture that was for sale at our favorite antique store but was too expensive at $475. When the price dropped significantly and my dad sent me some money for Christmas, we bought it.
Lately, we've been experiencing some anxiety about our financial situation. Michael lost most of the money he invested in real estate when the housing market crashed. We've both been feeling eager to make some changes in our lives: new scenery, new work, new adventures. Then yesterday, I found an owl that had been here all along.
Of course I had to research owl's symbolism. Owl is wisdom and a keeper of spirits. Owl reveals what is hidden and can see what others cannot. Owl is magic.
Once again, a simple discovery leads to a flash of revelation. God—or the universe or whatever you choose to call that which is greater than these mere bodies we inhabit—is present and lighting the way along the path we have chosen to follow.