We travelled north. The Great Gray Owl travelled south. With the snow too deep at home, he agreed to meet us halfway. He arrived weeks before us but passed as a stranger for a time.
We arrived in daylight, and though our sleeping patterns were at odds with his, we imagined his dreams of voles too few, and occasioned daylight raids were necessary for his survival.
We saw him, his back to us, in a cottonwood tree, resting, perhaps asleep. We longed for him to turn his face of gray and, with his giant yellow eyes, blink a hello, but most of all, we wanted to see the bow tie tucked beneath his beak and take his picture.
But valuing our own sleep and respecting his we made do with a photo of him, back turned, eyes closed; dreaming, waiting for the sound of dinner bells beneath the snow and the plunge he'd make.