This is Otis the Owl.
I met Otis this morning while I was on a hike at Wesselman Woods. The occasion was the annual Maple Sugarbush Festival and pancake breakfast, and the Evansville hiking club planned as a group to hike the woods and eat some pancakes.
Otis is at the nature preserve because he was hit by a car. He is now blind in his right eye.
How traumatic must it have been to not only suffer such a terrible injury caused by such a foreign, unnatural thing as a car–and then to be rescued, ending up in a cage at Wesselman Nature Preserve?
Otis is being rehabilitated in the hopes that one day he will be able to leave the preserve and live in the wild again. At the preserve, they rehabilitate injured birds in the hopes that they will be able to one day release them to live back where God intended.
Otis and I have something in common.
God made you and me to live in a wild place, too. Our world is full of God’s beauty and wonder, imprinted on humanity that was created in the image of the Almighty. But among the beauty, there is danger.
Sometimes we get injured–a careless word, a harmful action–and we need some rehab. I have people and places where I turn to find encouragement, love and recovery. People who pick me up, dust me off and make sure I’m ready leave the safety of their company and care once again.
I hope it’s not too long for Otis. A bird is created to fly free. It’s risky, it’s true, but I have to imagine that Otis still dreams about leaving the cage and getting back to the place where he was meant to live.