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Hubby and I were a thing in college. (Yes, that would put us at 15 years of knowing each other, for those who are wondering). One evening, Hubby took me for a drive up to the Flatirons weaving a story on the way. He told me all about the spotted Snowy Owl and how, to the Native Americans, it represented freedom from bad dreams. He went on to tell me that the previous morning he had seen a Snowy Owl in the Flatirons while he was training (he was and still is a pretty serious martial artist, and used to wake before dawn to go up to the foothills and do forms). He wanted me to see it. Since owls are nocturnal, we were heading up there at night to see if we could see it again.

He pulled over to the side of road, we climbed out and started over boulders and through the trees until we reached the spot where Hubby had seen the owl. We were very quiet while he got out his flashlight and screened through the trees. I spotted something in a tree branch and whispered, “Stop! Go Back.” Sure enough, there was a beautiful Snowy Owl perched in a tree branch.

“Go on,” Hubby said, nudging me, “Get closer and see how near she will let you get.” (Are Snowy Owls dangerous? Didn’t even question it as I approached the tree.) I stepped closer, and closer and, surprisingly, the owl let me get quite close to her. So close, indeed, that I finally realized, inches from her and in the dark, that she was a stuffed Snowy Owl. Sitting on a nest of real red licorice ropes (my favorite treat in the world and where, oh where, can one find them these days?). I turn back to Hubby, shining the light directly in his face and see a sweet grin (sweet, meaning: I can’t believe you thought you were approaching a real Snowy Owl). After I collected my owl and licorice, I found him sitting on a big boulder with a bottle of champagne (that he had hidden in the bushes earlier). “Happy Valentine’s Day,” he said.

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