From Today’s Notebook: the Pilgrim and the Owl

I have a dear friend, more sister than friend, her name is Rosa.

Rosa is on a journey, dare I say,  of  enlightenment . She would never say such a thing, she is far too modest, but it is a fact I am witness to.  Rosa who is an Episcopalian priest,  lives in our old Fort Lauderdale neighborhood with her husband Sherod, also a priest, our priest. I miss them terribly, if anyone  can help me have faith in man and god it is this duo.  I see far too little of them and their daughter Maria but I do keep abreast of Rosa through her musings on her blog, Cenizas, Estelas y Senderes: Ashes,Trails and the Wake We Leave Behind.

Recently Rosa wrote about her rather frequent encounter with owls, most likely a saw-whet owl, her post entitled I Don’t Believe in Angels, describes the  seemingly chance appearances of these nocturnal sentinels just when she needs them most.  Rosa is an avid walker, for health both physical and spiritual.

 Rosa describes that when the weight of life seems most impossible this little bugger shows up, she doesn’t believe in angels but what the hell is this?  She describes meeting what she believes-wants to believe- is the same wise little fellow.  I found this detail inspirational, as well as her description of owls as being  something she is “…so grateful for, the beautiful presence of these creatures who are as mystery-filled as the darkness we meet it.”

There is a painting in this.

The following is an idea I  have for just such a painting. 


watercolor sketch for The Pilgrim

I’ve taken liberties with the pilgrim, initially I was going to fashion the figure after Rosa, but I happen to be reading an incredible book by Tom Sparbauer The Man Who Fell In Love With The Moon. It is a wonderful tale of a young berdache youth , his treks profane and sacred. One of his encounters is with a shaman named Owlfeather. The exchange between the two characters resonated with me, reminding me instantly of my friend and her own pilgrimage. I hope Rosa doesn’t mind being fashioned after a rather randy, bisexual, heavy drinkin’, “star dust” smoking , cussing berdache boy- but knowing my friend I am pretty certain she would be delighted. I did give the fellow a Rose.

I’ve played around with the characters quite a bit, the pilgrim below is from an early quick sketch.


I’m going to start this painting soon after class, which ends next week. I have St.Anthony almost completed, having another in the wings, so to speak makes me happy.

I’m going to end with this adorable image of a northern Saw-whet, they were always a delight to encounter, happy Rosa has such fine company on her evening romps. To follow Rosa on her journey her blog Cenizas, Estelas y Senderes is on my blog roll. 

Until next time,

take care,



Author: babylonbaroque

I am a painter and printmaker working towards creating a body of work that reflects my own developing aesthetic. New work ,first link. The second link is an on-line portfolio.

5 thoughts on “From Today’s Notebook: the Pilgrim and the Owl”

  1. Speechless happy. I kept trying to do your own sketch justice with words and couldn’t. This is it!

    Seeing the great horned owl in Reno last week was wonderful and terrifying. What is ahead that I should see him?

    Thank you.

    1. I missed the great horned owl detail, swamped in my own self-absorption . Did you snag a photo, I think you are on to something. love you

  2. this is very exciting, i love the sketch and the story, it should be an amazing painting! can’t wait, also, to see your completed st. anthony, i have really been enthralled with what you’ve shown so far!

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