Marilyn Lorenz and Carol Linneman
Marilyn Lorenz is a graduate of the Program in Creative Writing at Northwestern University. Her work appears in all six of the Island Writers’ Network anthologies. She has published poetry, short stories, plays, music and lyrics in a variety of publications and for a variety of causes. She is currently rehearsing her play, Chauncy’s Redemption, a senior spoof comedy to be performed at the Cypress of Hilton Head.
Scribes are burdened with description
of the world through all their days,
and for such a ruthless burden
singly weather meager praise.
But oh! When roses scent the air,
and bloom as petals part,
and a newborn child sleeps tenderly,
upon a beating heart,
then so the poet’s gift shall be,
in words of purest gold,
fair dreams of fine tomorrows,
never sullied, never old.
“Scribes” © Marilyn Lorenz (2019) from Reflections
Carol Linneman is a Registered Nurse with an MSA Degree and Graduate Gerontology Certification. Having worked within, studied, and personally experienced long-term care settings, she offers assistance to support givers through customized guides and presentations. Her most recent publication, From Caregiver to Supportgiver, is available via Amazon. She writes creative non-fiction short stories for local nonprofits’ respective publications and websites. Linneman’s most recent works are inspired by the lovable feathered and marine animals of HHI.
Who Gives a Hoot
“Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?”
What? What is that loud cry inquiring about my chef?—or at least that’s what I think I heard. Where is it coming from? Tim was exasperated. He had to know everything about the creatures in his yard but had never heard that sound before.
“Who cooks for you?”
There it is again. How can I research a clamor like that when I don’t see anything?
Tim went out with his binoculars, sat on the steps, and watched the silence. Is it possible to watch silence? He wondered. Suddenly, swiftly gliding from a high branch of the tall oak tree, a huge bird appeared without a sound. It all happened too fast for Tim to identify it. The bird flew away.
Yes, thought Tim, I watched silence—that grand bird with a wingspan of over three feet flew effortlessly without even rustling a leaf. Tim zeroed in on his birds-of-prey manual and located the section on owls, knowing owls made strange calls or hoots. He was familiar with the hoarse short screaming of hawks so ruled them out. Sure enough, it was a barred owl, only identified at this point by its unique call and its preferred habitat. Hilton Head Lowcountry is perfect with its wetlands and numerous riparian forests. Tim would never rest until he could experience the complete beauty of this bird.
The next day at 4 p.m., Tim resumed his watch from the steps. His patience was rewarded.
“Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?” And there sat Ollie, named on the spot! Tim liked to name his birds to coincide with the first letter of the species—Annie Anhinga, Harry Heron. Tim fell in love with the magnificent bird and could not draw himself away. The bird’s head was quite round and lacked the ear tufts of most owls. His eyes were large and dark. His throat area sported horizontal barring and most of his wings were beautiful shades of brown stripes.
From that day on, Tim met Ollie almost every evening and began to talk to him. Tim could imitate Ollie’s call quite well, and after days of Tim’s persistent hoot practicing, Ollie responded. What joy the communication brought Tim, and who knows? Maybe Ollie felt the joy as well. Tim hoped so. Ollie would turn his head to stare at Tim for a while, then would focus on personal preening and ground watching in anticipation of snaring one of the mice living in the leaf mulch.
Ollie never disappointed Tim. He began his evening hunting in Tim’s presence. It was quite a sight as Ollie swallowed each mouse whole. After a short time, Ollie flew off into the night, probably hunting for hours while Tim slept. Occasionally, Tim was treated with a late evening silhouette of his friend resting on a branch over the lagoon at the rear of his home. And often he would hear Ollie passing by in the morning. The whitewash expanse over his driveway informed Tim that Ollie visited the oak tree before heading for his own home bed in the trees. Tim didn’t care about the driveway mess (although his neighbors complained) because it meant his pal was around. During the day, Tim searched for other tell-tale signs of Ollie’s visits. He frequently found pellets mixed with small bone fragments under tree perches, which Ollie obviously used for hunting and resting as he passed through on his nightly journeys.
Tim never was able to find Ollie’s home, yet he made sure the aged trees in the little adjacent forest were not felled. He lobbied for the old trees with holes suitable for owl nesting and anxiously looked forward to spring with the expectation of meeting Ollie’s mate and a subsequent owl family. One can be certain—Tim gave a hoot!
“Who Gives a Hoot” © Carol Linneman (2019) from Reflections