The older owlet in the Great Horned Owl nest I’ve been watching fledged last night. On and off all day long yesterday, she (the larger size hints at it being a female) climbed up and down the tree branches above the nest. The first time she disappeared from view of the nest camera, I honestly had tears come to my eyes, and it was always a relief to see her land back in the nest to snuggle with her sibling. She seemed to be encouraging the younger one to give this branching thing a try. Each time, she climbed higher and higher into the tree, and last evening, she didn’t return. It was the first night the younger owlet spent alone. All the viewers of this nest cam were commiserating for the little one left behind. The parents didn’t bring any food in order to encourage it to branch out of the nest. I had trouble turning off the computer and going to bed, and by 5:15 AM, I was back on to see how the little one managed. There was one post from a viewer explaining that she left the site up all night, so she could check on the owlet whenever she woke up.
This morning, the owlet kept looking up and calling out to its mother and older sibling. He (could be male due to its smaller size) would hop around the nest, taking a few tentative steps up one of the tree branches, but clearer he wasn’t ready, yet. Eventually Mom came to the nest with a big, juicy bird. One viewer posted that it was a Purple Gallinule. Boy, that mother couldn’t tear it up fast enough for this little guy. He was hungry. I’m guessing the mother realized he wasn’t ready to fledge, and it was time to give in to feeding him. She also spent some time reassuring him and preening him. (She is one of the most magnificent creatures I’ve ever seen.)
All of this got me to thinking about my writing process. I set goals, make lists, track my progress, and hold myself accountable for my writing. When I write, I hear and see my characters, and they tell me or show me what is going on. However, there are times when they may give me a visual with no dialogue or dialogue but no setting. The time just isn’t right. When this happens, it’s not easy for me to be patient. I can get into negative stories about not accomplishing enough. That’s when I have to back off and give myself permission to quiet down, listen, and wait. An example of this was when I was writing the scene in Annie Crow Knoll: Sunset when Nate brings Jose to Annie Crow Knoll to tell Beth Ann how he feels. For a while, all I saw was Nate and this dark-haired man standing up on the hill looking down at Beth Ann below in the fireplace pit. For the longest time, I had no idea who Jose was or what was supposed to happen. I had to wait, and eventually they let me know about Jose and his relationship with Beth Ann.
And so we wait for this younger owlet to fledge. I realize it must have been hard for the older owlet to take off without her buddy. But she was prepared. She did what was natural for her to do. Her younger sibling will leave the nest when he’s ready and not a moment before. The owls teach me about patience, waiting, and listening in regards to my writing and to everything in life.
I’d like to hear from you about your experiences of waiting for the right time. Is it easy? Is it difficult? As you’ve aged, have you gotten more patient or less? I look forward to your comments.
Since I previously blogged about two active eagles nests, I’m excited to update you that both eggs hatched just days ago in the Hanover nest. They are doing well with their excellent parents protecting them. It’s thrilling to watch these huge birds gently and patiently feed their tiny chicks. The two eaglets at Berry College are growing in leaps and bounds. It’s cool to see the dramatic contrast in color, size, and behavior between newly hatched eaglets and eaglets that were hatched last month.
I’ve also started watching a Red-Tailed Hawk nest with two chicks in California. I know, I know. It’s addicting. Either fortunately or unfortunately, the Osprey are going to begin nesting, and there will be a nest cam at the Blackwater Wild Life Refuge. I could watch these birds all day, but I won’t. I know you’re waiting for Annie Crow Knoll: Moonrise.
I have finished the first draft, and I’m celebrating today (March 26) and tomorrow (March 27) with a Goodreads giveaway of two signed copies of Annie Crow Knoll: Sunrise. There’s a link at the top of the sidebar on the right or click here. Please celebrate with me by entering to win! Thanks!
Added Note: The older owlet returned to the nest last night, and hasn’t left this morning. The mother lured her back in with food, and so far today, she is staying with her younger sibling in the nest. Just like so many goals, adventures, and plans, there are stops and starts and even some repeated steps. More lessons for my writing process. 🙂
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