When the bundle on a nearby branch first caught my eye, I thought it was a squirrel’s nest that had tumbled out of a tree and gotten caught there. I was on a late afternoon walk in my favorite urban wood, the sun was setting, and my brain was a bit confused by the recent change to Daylight Savings Time. I was only a few feet away, when I realized I was looking at an owl, or rather, he was looking at me. I jolted to a stop, and he remained motionless, blinking at me through those unsettling eyes. Here was a huge Barred Owl, unfazed by the human who stood in front of him. We watched each other for several minutes, and it seemed he was appraising me with as much attention as I was appraising him, only he was much calmer. I pulled out my iPhone and started photographing, which didn’t bother him in the least. At one point he whipped his head around to look behind him in that uncanny way owls have, and when he turned back, we continued our silent conversation. It was only when a dog came running towards the tree that he moved. He looked disgruntled rather than alarmed, as if he just hated having his reverie interrupted. Slowly unfurling his huge wings, he made no effort as he lifted off his perch and rose to the top of a nearby tulip poplar. I felt as if I had been released from a spell, and I continued my walk in a daze.