I’m sitting here at work right now, wondering why I have to be stuck at work. I wonder why I’ve not succeeded yet, why I haven’t been published and am living the lifestyle of a fabulously wealthy author. I meant successful, not wealthy, but it will do. And, over the years I’ve come up with several answers to those questions. Some of the answers make sense, while others have come out of left field. The only thing they’ve all got in common is the fact that they’re not complimentary to the person asking the questions. In fact, I’m sure I would be beaten, severely, with a wet noodle should I write even one of those answers here. It’s best to just not do it. So, instead I’ll ask a question I can answer.
“Mr. Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop?”
Mr. Owl takes the lollipop and licks it, “one, two, three,” and he bites through the rest, getting to the center of the tootsie roll pop.
So, why would the little boy in the commercial go and ask Mr. Owl for the answer? The answer to that is symbolism. The owl, with its regal bearing and luminescent eyes has been a symbol of wisdom for many, many years; centuries in fact, if I’m not mistaken. Like the wise old man on top of the mountain, the owl, and those who identify with the creature have been sought out for their wisdom and advice.
In my own experience, I feel that the owl is my spiritual guide (it’s either that or a squirrel), and I base this belief on the one time I’ve seen an owl.
The animal was standing in the road as I was driving along. There wasn’t roadkill beside it, it was just waiting and watching me come closer. It should have been blinded by my headlights, but it wasn’t. It looked past my headlights, and locked eyes with me. In that moment I felt stripped naked, bearing the whole of my soul out to this one creature. The truck continued on, but the owl took flight, spreading its great wings and rising up above the truck like an angel. I knew then that there was more to this world, more to this life, and this owl had been sent to me as a message to bring that home.
I try to keep that message in my mind every day. I try to bring the wisdom of that one owl to everyone else who reads my work. We are not alone in the universe, there are many other people in many other realities, and those focused on the arts are our glimpses into those realities.
Remember, the next time you’re reading a book. Those characters are real, their feelings and hopes and failures are real, and so long as you keep them in mind they will continue to be real.
And, to ruin all the nice poetic things I just said, I wonder what would have happened if the owl didn’t fly out of the way. Would it have been a satisfying crunch?