When I was a small child my Grandmother, a Chippewa Indian was sleeping over. I don't recall why my parents were not there...we were sleeping in our cabin in the deep woods. A Hoot Owl landed on the gnarly scraggely tree near our house. He/she began to Hoot in earnest.
Grandma hugged me close and whispered that in Indian lore when a Hoot Owl called out this close, it was to call to a person's soul and take it to the next land. The owl's voice was fascinating as well as a bit scary for a small child.
Tonight as I tried to sleep a Hoot Owl landed in a pine just outside my bedroom window. At first I felt terror, then a deep sadness as I felt the Owl was telling me that it had taken my father in law to the next world. I buried my face into my pillow and finally sobbed and let go.
I think I can sleep now.