Eight years after that last auto-avicide, the barn began to slowly tip over as the old eucalyptus poles wobbled, and the fir rafters finally after a near century and a half bent. At some point, after 40 years of fixing, repairing, borrowing to keep ancient things viable, I thought for a second “let her topple.”
The barn was largely full of junk anyway and an eyesore. I called around and got an estimate of $5,000 to haul it away—and be done with the headaches of constant repair, junk collecting, and whitewashing. Now and then a thief would get in, rummage around and find the booty wasn’t even worth the break-in.
Nations have often gone mad in a matter of months. The French abandoned their supposedly idealistic revolutionary project and turned it into a monstrous hell for a year between July 1793 and 1794. After the election of November 1860, in a matter of weeks, Americans went from thinking secession was taboo to visions of killing the greatest number of their fellow citizens on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. Mao’s China went from a failed communist state to the ninth circle of Dante’s Inferno, when he unleashed the Cultural Revolution in 1966.
In the last six months, we have seen absurdities never quite witnessed in modern America. Madness, not politics, defines it. There are three characteristics of all these upheavals. One, the events are unsustainable. They will either cease or they will destroy the nation, at least as we know it. Two, the law has largely been rendered meaningless. Three, left-wing political agendas justify any means necessary to achieve them.
Barn Owls really do like barns. And they are invaluable predators of mice, squirrels, rats and such who all do their small part to wreck a barn and its environs. And yet they are not the fierce Great-Horned-Owls of six-foot wingspans that swooped just above the ground as they once terrified us in the orchard. They are not those strange little “screech” owls, without necks that roost at night in our redwood trees and hoot without fear.
As I have mentioned here before, barn owls have the face of monkeys, hence the sobriquet monkey/monkey-faced owls. They seem globalists. In Greece, I once saw one on the island of Aegina in a crumbling Byzantine Church. At dusk in Hillsdale, Michigan I would see them on the bike path in an old pump shed.
When growing up, there were always pairs who had nests in the rafters and kept rodents out of the barn, where the sweat boxes of raisins evened out before trucking the crop into Sun-Maid. I don’t think they attacked the flicker woodpeckers. But the more the two owls flew on patrol, the rarer seemed those pests that drilled holes throughout the barn (usually covered up with tin-can lids).