The Nicole Bush Media Blog

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Pieces/posts may not be well-reported, brilliantly structured or formally written.

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Writing: Friendship + Owl

Oslo the owl and his handler, from the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, Mich.

Oslo the owl and his handler, from the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, Mich.


Friendship is your friend calling you while you’re reading an interview with Maya Angelou in a used book you finally got in the mail and you silence the call because you just really got into the reading.

Plus, you know she’ll understand.

Later, during the end of a walk, you call her back and start detailing the woes of a dog you walked today, that you’re slated to walk twice tomorrow.

Mid-worry, she, not so much as interrupts you, but freaks out on the other line, repeating something like Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! because there’s a man with an owl at the outdoor market she’s at.

She lets you go abruptly because she can’t stand it, or focus.

And she knows you’ll understand.

Before hanging up you asked that a photo be taken and sent. You forget about it, though, once you’re lost back in the reading.

Soon, a picture comes in. It’s in a group message, to you and your boyfriend—because you requested the photo for him.

She says the owl’s name is Oslo. He’s a Norwegian Eagle Owl. He’s twenty-four.

You start asking questions, rapid-fire:

How much does he weigh?

Why is he at Potter Park Zoo?

Can he fly?

Has he always been at the zoo?

And because she understands, she answers all of them, asking Oslo’s handler the questions she doesn’t know the answers to:

Five pounds; he has hollow bones; his feathers weigh more than said bones.

He was born in captivity.

Yes, he can fly. His wingspan is five feet.

Yes, I think so.

And because I know she’ll understand, I start asking stranger questions:

Is he a nice owl?

What’s Oslo’s personality like?

She responds:

He is very nice. But got annoyed when the handler wanted to show me his wings.

Slightly disgruntled and sleepy, but also seems wise and majestic.

I ask a few more, and because she understands, she continues to humor me:

“Does he seem funny?” I ask.

“Dad humor funny,” she says.

“Poop jokes?” I ask.

“Kind of sarcastic.”

“Have you touched it yet?”

“No touching.”

“Ugh,” I say, “Not even just his wingtips?”

“He has very sharp things. His wings were tucked away,” she says.

“But they weren’t for a second.”

“Yes and he was disgruntled about it.”

Then the text conversation dies off.

I think the whole interaction was funny and cute, so I start writing it down.

And while deep in the typing, she calls back and I silence it, because I know she’ll understand.

Note: according to the Potter Park Zoo website Oslo is an Eurasian eagle-owl, but my friend heard Norwegian.