18 May Wild eyes of the Night !
What is it ? Is it actually alive ? Within the tranquil, dark, stillness and shadows of the night, the unrecognizable sphere, tightly rolled up in the middle of the road, began to move, whatever it was began to eerily & slowly unfurl itself. We are quite used to the beautiful country roads in & around Château de Lacomté at night, they are abundant with wildlife, owls, deers, foxes, badgers, hares, wild boar, and bats to name but a few. If you are lucky you may see owls swooping low across the road right in front of your car as they hunt for their night time prey. It is always an amazing drive at night, with scenes of beauty exposed by the bright silvery glow of the moon by night. As we drove home the other evening, there was what looked like a weird ball in the middle of the road, reminding me of a hedgehog all tightly rolled up, to stop any wild prey from getting them, but this, whatever “this” was, was way too large to be a hedgehog. As we made an abrupt halt to avoid running it over, we reversed back to take another look. As we peered through the windscreen this creature of the night was aglow, lit up from the darkness by our car headlights, in full view, unprotected by the shadow of darkness. This was no hedgehog, it was larger, it appeared to be feathery and was quite motionless, and at that moment unrecognizable. What was it? Was it dead ? Was it alive ? I did have my camera with me, but as it happened there was no time at all for me to pick it up and get ready to capture whatever the wonderful scene was, that was about to unfold before our very eyes. Within the calm, inky hours of the night and without a doubt the annoyance of our car lights and the infernal noise of our running car engine, this poor creature had had it’s evening doze shattered by human interaction. It began to unfurl itself slowly, stretching out into a much larger shape than we imagined something so small could become, it all seemed to happen in slow motion. As it became fully upright and awake the creature appeared to be totally at ease with the situation, not moving at all quickly. Bless him he was still half asleep. Once back within the wakefulness of his hours of darkness, it’s head slowly and menacingly swivelled around to what had awoken him and for what seemed quite a long amazing moment in time, it’s wild eyes within the ebony shadows looked straight at us, piercing us with the intensity of its stare. Our spirits for a fleeting moment seemed to join, it was as if we were three roaming souls of the night joined together by vision. He showed no fear whilst giving us an un-nerving steely glare, with what seemed to be blended with anger, you could feel the creature was not impressed to have been awoken from his dreamy state. How dare we be using his road ! Afterall, the hours of darkness were his to live not ours to invade. He gracefully stretched out his wings, they seemed so big as he majestically flew off into the darkness and safety of the adjacent pine trees. Which means that this beautiful bird of the darkness is nesting very, very close to the camping. Maybe even within the grounds of Lacomte, we have so many owls here. Their night-time song hovers within the warm night-time air as they call to one another. Our encounter with this incredible Owl felt quite surreal, it was as if we had somehow crossed into another domaine in time, where we should not have been! Who knows, maybe we had. Having recently seen this fantastic photograph of Martin’s which I have posted, we recognised instantly that bird we met was an Owl, known in France as a Grand-Duc. I have now seen him on more than one occasion, but never again asleep on the road. He sits upright, tall and proud, hidden high within the tall pine trees just outside of our gates, completely motionless and quietly just watches. 3 years ago this same specie of Owl were nesting within our Château grounds here at Lacomté, but then I did not know what sort of Owl they were. Late one evening I was drawn into the Château grounds by the shrill sqawks of baby owls calling for their Mother and food, I really wanted to see them. I cannot tell you that I was relaxed at doing so, as I did not feel alone and I had to ignore the voice that spoke with me within my head. I was constantly looking around me, always feeling that there was something extremely close by, teasing me because I could not see them. Goodness knows what I would have done if I had of been confronted by a trapped Spirit of someone that lived here during the days when the Château was till standing. But did I see them ? No not the ghosts, the owls ? Yes I did, but sadly my camera was not good enough to take a clear picture. And I did not wish to upset Mummy Owl, who flew in silently without me even seeing her. Only the change in the babies calling, made me aware she had flown in with something quite big for their evening meal. So if you have some, bring your night-time binoculars along with you when you come to stay. You will be amazed at the wild hidden beauty of nature at night that lives here at Lacomté ! Happy Weekend everyone.