Seeing & Looking
One morning we took our rowboat from our sailboat onto a Bahamas island beach. Rowing though the teal water, we passed over coral formations a couple feet below the dinghy. On the beach, above the soft tan sand, a line of pine trees swayed in the breeze. Landing smoothly on the soft sand beach, I felt the wet grains of sand between my toes. Walking barefoot along the tide line, we listened, and the absence of all human sounds was pleasant. Only the sounds of waves and the rustle of a slight breeze in the trees caressed the soundscape.
Within this quiet, we heard a hiss. I froze. At the high tide line, near a hold in the sand, an eight-inch tall owl stared at me. It hissed. We gazed at the owl, and it looked us over. It's feathers were mottled, it had curved grey claws, and a light-colored beak. But, its eyes !
Exploring along the beach, we found 10 other owl burrows. Two owls flew from their burrows and into an area of palm trees. I waited in the low scrub near the edge of the forest. Minutes passed. I heard only wave sounds. No owls. As the camera grew a little heavier in the hands, I got a sixth sense of being watched. I turned and looked through the trees. A pair of yellow eyes looked back. The owl was ten feet up atop of broken palm tree. It's face was grainy with sand
After the owl cleaned its beak with its talons, it gave a single sharp warning cry and took off through the trees.
Photos and Writings by Jim Austin Jimages