Seeing Stephanie Owletti

Stephanie Owletti is not a creature of the crepuscule. Not for her these six-to-six shifts those bleached egrets serve so diligently. Her strident calls cut through the night chill as she shuttles from one open post to another, emitting a “keech keech keech” when most other avian brethren are getting their forty winks cosied up in their nests. And when it’s their time to go hop-hopping from bush to tree, Stephanie does the most logical thing to do during the day, viz. shut shop and shut-eye. 

 
During these inchoate dawns, though, when she has just emerged from her hollow to absorb some warmth, she turns into this queer and curious immovable object, whereby her body swells to counter the cold and the dew, and her person looks somewhat like a large tropical nut that has grown brown moss over time. It is therefore natural that a member of the greatest ape who happens to chance upon her sight feels the curiosity to watch her at close quarters. 
 
When thus disturbed in the process, she opens at first a single eye to examine the nature of the intrusion, whereupon, if taken to be benign, she regains her state of repose betimes. If, however, further examination is found prudent, she will slowly open the other too, such selective shutter functionality employed to save precious energy from being incurred on opening both eyes simultaneously without necessity. If the onlooker presses on foolishly, demanding a closer look at this winged wonder, then by all means she opens her eyes wider, as though in indignant surprise at his sheer cheek, throwing the “how could you??” look. In doing so, she expects that he understand this visual communiqué and back off with at the least some minimal decency that she seeks of men. 
 
But when the eager birder, unable to contain the excitement brewing up in his chest, marches forward callously to magnify the view in his binoculars, her lenses open up even larger, like the headlights of a Jaguar XJ coming on in full blast on a new moon night, and the stunned onlooker gets a spine-chilling stare and emits an involuntary “Wow!” as she tucks herself away on a remoter branch away from view.

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