Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The Call of the Siren

(This post was pre-written because today, hopefully,  I am sitting on a beach with my grandchildren in sunny Florida...unless it is raining today.)


According to my research, the sirens of ancient mythology were not sea life. They were maidens that resided on an island in a flowery meadow and lured mariners to their death by singing songs that caused sailors to swoon in anticipation and thus to sail too close to the rocky shoreline of the island.  According to Walter Copland Perry, "Their song, though irresistibly sweet, was no less sad than sweet, and lapped both body and soul in a fatal lethargy, the forerunner of death and corruption."  


I have my own siren singing such a song in my woods.  It is my little screech owl that resides just on the other side of the ravine.  Every evening as I tuck into bed I hear his thrumming song.  It is gentle, persistent, and most attractive.  I do not know if he is singing a love song of home or calling gently for a mate.  Now that spring weather allows me to open the bedroom window I hear him even more clearly just a few hundred yards away.  He sings for hours and then his lullaby puts me to asleep.


Last night I gave into the addictive call.  I put on sandals, and with torchlight in hand and hubby leaning out over the balcony to witness my demise, headed out across the dewy wet back lawn determined to find which tree hole he calls home.  The sound is so subtle that I had to walk all the way to the dock to triangulate and narrow down the area.  Much like the tapping of a woodpecker, the sound resonates across the space of the evening and confuses and is very difficult to target.


I wandered dangerously close to my "rocky shoreline" and with much luck did not break my neck or twist a second ankle, but it was too dangerous to actually leave the yard and enter the tangled woods with its many downed trees in the black of the night.  (Please excuse the primitive graphics indicating the general area of the sound in the photo above of the ravine between my house and that of my neighbor.)  After several minutes I gave up as I could not see the little fellow.  Tonight he is not singing...I wonder if that is my fault...or perhaps it is the pending rainstorm? 



14 comments:

Mystic Meandering said...

Oh how this made me laugh, as I could envision you - er, me - following the mysterious call of the owl into the woods at night - yeah right - scaredy cat that I am. I admire your adventurousness in following the call! And the image of "hubby" watching you go on your adventure is hilarious. Am sorry you didn't get to spot it. Our Great Horns haven't been back in weeks! I miss them.

Enjoy your stay in Sunny Florida! Christine

Jenny Woolf said...

A lovely nocturnal adventure. And so different from sitting on a beach in Florida! :D Have fun!

Brian Miller said...

oh how cool would it be to see him...but now you are in florida...very cool....what part? i used to live in valrico...i still miss it...

Granny Annie said...

This very day that I have been talking to my brother about how afraid I was of the outdoors when Ron and I first married and I moved to the country for the first time in my life. I was terrified to go outside in the day, much less at night and now I love the night the most.

Celia said...

Wonderful evening adventure. Good for you. I like the woods at night, owls, bats, and cooing doves around here.

Dave said...

A very pleasant blog Tabor. I wonder if you will find him? - Dave

Peruby said...

Ft Lauderdale and Daytona look okay for now, but the rest of the state looks wet.

I am headed for the keys next week and I am SO glad I am not there today! Sheesh!

Hope you are warm - I am freezing.

Peruby said...

Ft Lauderdale and Daytona look okay for now, but the rest of the state looks wet.

I am headed for the keys next week and I am SO glad I am not there today! Sheesh!

Hope you are warm - I am freezing.

Deb Colarossi said...

oh - Enjoy Florida !!!!

and I loved this adventure you shared.. I love how your mind works:)

Mage said...

Hope you are in a dry sunny spot. Thanks for taking us with you on the owl adventure. :)

kerrdelune said...

Oh, this is something I have done from time to time - followed a siren call into the woods after dark as fallen. Alas, it is difficult to spot even the most colorful bird after the sun goes down. Hope you are enjoying Florida, Tabor, it is cold up here....

Shrinky said...

Goodness, I am so glad you safely survived your nightime meanderings, it would have been an awful shame if you'd had to pass up on that beach in Florida..!

Hope you're having a wonderful time.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Thanks for sharing your adventure.
Enjoy the sun, sand and ocean :)

Pauline said...

I had to go listen to the screech owl's song after reading this - we have them here, too, though it's the wood thrush's song I most love to listen to at dusk.