Friday, October 3, 2008

Owl Obsession

Rigel and Izzy have a somewhat strange obsession with owls. I think it all started before Izzy was born. Rigel and I would do a lot of reading together, and one of his favorite books was P.D. Eastman's Sam and the Firefly (among a few others). Then, when Izzy was about a year old, he had his first owl encounter in Grandma's garden (via a plastic hardware store owl that functions as an animal deterrent). Grandma gave the owl to Rigel and Izzy, and it is permanantly perched in our Ficus tree. Now, when he streaks half naked through the house and I inquire as to where his pants and underwear went, he replies, "an owl flew in the window and stole 'em. He took 'em and built a nest with 'em." When we are in line at Costco, Izzy will solemnly stare at the rafters pointing, "Wook, Mama, Izzy see a ow-all." If a spooky Halloween-themed Thomas-the-Train episode comes on, Izzy gets truly terrified of any and all images of owls, and Rigel scoots out of the room and watches from a distance. If we are in a store, they go nuts over anything relative to owls, and when we are traveling in the car, they enthusiastically point out the animal deterrent owls perched on gas station overhangs. Rigel has informed me that, "once, when I was big like you, I had an owl" ... I could go on and on.

So, what is this combined fascination and fear of owls about, anyway? According to a gift tag on a Pier 1 Imports owl statue, the ancient Chinese considered the owl to be a symbol of yang masculinity as well as the guardian of the afterlife. Lei-gong, the god of thunder, had the beak, wings and claws of an owl, and owl-shaped roof finials were believed to offer protection from thunder and fire. Um, that's interesting. Not quite the explanation I'm looking for, though. Maybe I should further my research... Or, maybe it's all in good fun. Hooo knows?

More on the owl iron-on transfers / appliques

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