Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Owl Babies (The Mother's Tale)

I have three boys,
and when they were little I used to love reading them the story Owl Babies.
For those who don't know it I've posted it here.
If you know it, skip down to Owl Mothers (An alternative ending).
It's my response to someone who asked what depression feels like.

Once there were three baby owls
Sarah and Percy and Bill
They lived in a hole in the trunk of the tree with their owl mother.
The hole had leaves and sticks and bits of feathers in it.
It was their home.

One day they woke up and their owl mother was gone
Where’s Mummy? Said Sarah
Oh my goodness said Percy
I want my Mummy said Bill

The baby owls thought (All owls think a lot)
I expect she’s gone hunting said Sarah
To get us our food said Percy
I want my Mummy said Bill

Suppose she got lost? said Sarah
Or the fox got her? said Percy
I want my Mummy said Bill

The baby owls sat on their branches
A big branch for Sarah
A small branch for Percy
And a bit of Ivy for Bill

The baby owls thought (All owls think a lot)
I think we should all sit on my branch said Sarah
I suppose so said Percy
I want my Mummy said Bill

So they all huddled together,
closed their eyes,
and wished their owl mother would come.

Soft and silent, she swooped through the trees to Sarah, and Percy and Bill.

Mummy! They cried
And they laughed and they danced and they jumped up and down on their branch.
What’s all the fuss? Asked their Mother.
You knew I’d come back.
The baby owls thought (All owls think a lot)
I knew it said Sarah And I knew it said Bill I love my Mummy said Percy

Owl Mothers (An alternative ending)
And the Owl Mother held her owl babies tightly to her as a tear ran un-checked and unnoticed from her eye and slowly down her beak. She couldn’t let her owl babies see how she felt, but she was so tired…
Tired of doing the right thing all the time.
 Tired of being the wise old owl for all the animals in the wood, even though she loved them and part of her knew that was what she was born to do.
Tired of holding it all together.
Tired of feeling she was all alone even though she had plenty of friends in the wood.
So tired she had no energy to explain to the other animals how she truly felt inside.
Tired of feeling as empty as the hollow in the tree.
Tired of not knowing how she would feel from one sunrise to the next.
Tired of being unable to plan forays into the wood, in case her wings were too frail on that day.
Tired of seeing the Father Owl getting more and more exhausted as he tried to help her.

She longed with every feather for things to be different
Longed to be tucked up on one of the branches so she could rest and be looked after and not have to think about anything.
Longed to be the baby owl tucked under her mother’s wing where it’s safe and warm.
Longing for someone to make it all right.
Longing for a saviour, but one with feathers on.
Longing to feel that she is precious and loved and that the work she does in the wood won’t go unnoticed

And sometimes…. Longing to fly on and on and on Never to return from her hunting trips.
As she held her baby owls under her wing, she loved them so much she thought she’d burst.
She felt the breeze ruffle her feathers.
As the leaves of the trees began to stir she heard them say “I know. I’m here. I love you. Trust me.”
It was just a whisper. She wondered if she’d imagined it.
But as she looked down from the tree she saw her reflection in the pool. It was a bit muddled and muddied and she couldn’t see it clearly.
But somehow she knew that today was not the end.
She may not have the energy in that moment to fight another day, but it would be ok.

1 comment:

Angie Mabry-Nauta said...

Beautiful, Karen! Peace, open air, and a strong branch on which to perch and rest to you! ;)