White barn owl in a tree. Attribution: Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Reason Behind the Owl

To most, birds of prey are like any other feathered creatures roaming the sky, but to me, they symbolize freedom and strength. However, of all the aves, the owl is the most mythical and mysterious.

My affinity for owls started when I was young. My father would bring me along to tend to a neighbor’s horse ranch when she was out of town. Deep into her property sits a barn that houses the hay my father would use to feed the cattle that roamed the hills. Upon arriving, my father would always park far enough away so that shutting the truck’s doors wouldn’t scare off the barn owl that resided in the rafters.

Illustration of owl

I remember clear as day the first time I witnessed a barn owl in its natural habitat. It was mesmerizing. The owl was as white as a bed sheet and stared at me as I entered the barn. It was about 25 feet away perched on beam near a small opening in the rafters. It sat there stoically, seemingly unbothered by our presence, but continued to observe us as a potential threat. As we went about gathering hay for the cattle, it relaxed and like an oscillating fan turned its head without moving its shoulders towards the small opening where a field glowed in the evening light.

As we returned to the barn after feeding the herd, the owl was gone. I was saddened because I wanted to see more of that beautiful creature which is so elusive in the wild. You may hear them, but to lay eyes on a barn owl is a rare occurrence.

I chose the image of a barn owl for my labels because I want the wine to not only represent who I am, but an animal I admire and want to help conserve and protect. For this reason, I donate 5% of all proceeds to Hungry Owl Project of San Rafael, Ca.

Header image attribution: Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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