Wise Old Owl Symbolism

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Mary Anne Zak

Following a few days of feeling unwell and unproductive, I asked the Observer to extend my October 15 deadline for the November issue. Ever gracious, the Editor invited me to take a few days off. No argument there! Publishing a note about the arrangement, the Observer prompted a flowering of cheerful cards that nourished my spirits. I appreciated all your good wishes and kind messages. I would also like to thank the Suffield ambulance personnel who transported me to St. Francis hospital twice in October and the health professionals at Suffield House who cared for me in November.

After a recovery period, I am happy to be back at my computer, thinking about owls. Known as birds of prey with extraordinary eyesight, they can swoop from great heights to capture victims they’ve spotted earlier. With such talents, owls have been modeled and posted as guards on ridgepoles and gables to intimidate wayward pigeons.

Owls also enjoy a long history of being associated with wisdom, cerebral and spiritual. An old proverb goes, “A wise old owl sat in an oak. The more he saw, the less he spoke. The less he spoke, the more he heard.” The proverb ends with the question, “Why can’t we all be like that wise old owl?”

Sam Fuller was surely aware of the symbolism of the owl when he founded The Suffield Observer and mounted an owl on its masthead. The motto “A watchful observer” implicitly indicates that the Observer would keep a sage and vigilant eye on Suffield as its staff and writers have striven to do.

Visitors and residents at Suffield by the River have noticed the artificial owl mounted on the ridgepole of Building C in the complex and have asked if Suffield by the River and the Observer are connected in some way. I suggest they are connected by the combined wisdom of the vigilant staff and writers at the Observer and sage residents at Suffield by the River.

It has been a treat for me to be a resident at Suffield by the River for more than three years. It has also been a pleasure to be associated with the Observer ever since I received Sam’s invitation to join more than 20 years ago. I am delighted to be back in my apartment and back at my computer after my leave of absence. Thank you for your support. 

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