"A Wise Old Owl"
Nursery rhyme and its history.
"The origins and history of "A Wise Old Owl" are vague, however its meaning isn't. Basically it would be told to children in an attempt to teach the child the virtue of being quiet. The words in the poem of "A Wise Old Owl" are derived from the saying 'a wise old owl' based on an owl's behavior, of watching and patiently waiting when hunting its prey. Legends concerning the owl are recorded in Greek, Celtic, Native American and Aborigine mythology. The owl is especially associated with wisdom in Greek mythology being linked with Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom. Athens is named from the Goddess Athena and its emblem is the owl. The owl was also for many years viewed as a sinister bird only hunting at night when only evil spirits and witches were abroad, hence the connection with a Witches Familiar (remember Harry's Potter's owl who was called Hedwig?) Therefore, the wise old owl's meaning might be, 'Children should be seen and not heard.'" Hard to imagine that sweet little owl in my picture, or any other for that matter, being once thought of as evil.
A while ago I learned of the Nature Visions Photography Expo taking place this past weekend in Manassas, and on Saturday I had the opportunity to photograph birds of prey from the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia. I had a marvelous time with a small group of people, as we took dozens and dozens of photographs of the beautiful owls and hawks in their care. It was an amazing experience. We were given about 20 minutes to be with each bird, under the condition that if they showed any stress, the session would be terminated. Fair enough. These birds had been through enough, all being injured and unable to be returned to the wild, and thus being used for educational purposes. The birds that I saw seemed pretty comfortable though and were obviously quite used to having people around. Their volunteer carers were ever watchful and it was written on their faces how much they loved being with their charges.
I will be showing more photographs of those birds in the days ahead.