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  • Some time ago my aunt in the village tells me that there is an owl at her house. (In Georgian, the word for owl is ბუ, transliterated “bu”). The details on how her husband caught the owl with his bare hands and brought it back to the house to live in their living room are sketchy. I was there to witness a few hours of its uncomfortable attempt to sleep and then its eventual binding and shipping to the capital city.

    Many men often go jaunting off into the ტყეში– into the woods, the slashing, in search of firewood and a certain kind of bush that is fed to their cows.

    I picture the big winds which had recently bruised the mountains and scattered many brush all over the roads knocking the owl down from its perch on one of the thousand of beech trees that litter the slopes. Dazed, it lifts a wing, just as the man sees it on a brilliant patch of snow– where its tan, gray and dun camouflage is useless. He sings to it as he dashes over and grabs it by its talons, he takes it home, he names it.

    He is like an everyday Orpheus.

    When I saw the owl in the living room, I thought about how estranged things can be from one another and how words like “unsuitable” and “helplessness” leap to mind.

    Even as children we loved the wild things. We always had an irresistible urge to bring them under our sphere of understanding, to tame them into our world with a degree of force we never knew we possessed, but delighted in when we found it.
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