My aunt and uncle are hosting us for a few days at their gorgeous farm in upstate New York. Having arrived just before the Wednesday night storm, we awoke the next morning to find more than four inches of snow inviting us outside to play. We bundled up and headed out with our sleds.
The three distinctly different sleds and two snow boarding type toys were all perfect for joyful and diverse downhill rides. The variety was great for adults, kids, and even our little three-year old second cousin. My son learned to balance standing up on a scooter-sled, we each had a turn on an oversized inner-tube, and at one point I raced with my daughter on a slick blue toboggan, the fastest of the sleds.
We lay at the bottom of the hill, resting and gazing through the branches at the birds and the falling snow. I watched her as she savored the snow and talked about how yummy it was. Back at the top of the hill, my son greeted us, hollering to his sister that he needed her for “a business meeting.” His agenda: the construction of a snow fort to protect the spectators at this snow speedway.
After the sledding and fort building adventures came to their natural conclusion we walked further down the hill toward the lower fields and a river beyond. My son and I traipsed straight down through the brush, while my husband and daughter struct out on the switchback road. Before any of us got very far at all, I heard a call that thrilled me: “OWL!”
We raced back toward my husband who was standing at the edge of the road pointing to a barred owl that had just flown in and perched at the top of the trees. Miraculously, my husband’s yelling didn’t frighten it away and we were able to observe in detail this massive bird for quite a while.
My kids had never seen an owl in the wild, and I’m sure they will always remember this day. It’s a rare occasion and sharing the experience with one’s whole family is rarer still.