I stepped outside to plug in the fairy lights and put the chickens to bed. As I approached the gate, I heard a faint but distinctive, "Hoo-HOO-hoo-hoo." I paused and smiled. The neighbors were out on their front porch and I hoped they were listening too. I waited to hear if I would hear it a second time, then ran back inside for the little babe. "Grab your lantern, put on your boots, and come here now!" Noting the lack of long pants, I pulled the wool blanket off the couch. We stepped outside and waited and sure enough, against the backdrop of traffic rushing home from work, the neighbor kids laughing, and something rustling in the back forty, we heard it again. Faint, but definitely a Great Horned owl. Awesome. We turned on the lantern and put the chickens to bed. When we went inside, I showed the little babe a picture and I was impressed myself by their imposing stare. Except for the pouring down rainy days, I am glad that I am forced to step outside every night, even if it is just for a quick two minute dash. In that short period of time when I am standing outside, looking in at the lighted inside, I see a pastel colored sky, birds flying home for the night, birch branch tips bending in the wind. I see the moon rising, note the size and then compare it to the lunar chart hanging inside. And I hear owls calling, going about their owl business despite the human hubbub all around them. I pause, breathe deep, smile up at the universe, and am thankful to be where I am.