The first time I met "Owl," was over the phone regarding her kijiji advertisement. She and her husband were planning to move to Costa Rica to retire and had to relieve themselves of most of their Canadian belongings.
"I don wanna give anythin to someone who will just turn around and sell everythin," she said with her aboriginal accent chopping the "g" off of the end of words. A game I play silently around people is "guess that accent," and I hate to brag but I am usually wrong, but not this time.
I assured her that I had a personal policy of thrifting wherever possible but not to sell what I had been given and would freely pass on any item I did not need. Then I drove out to the village where they lived and met the tiny Cree woman who resembled the North of 60 actress who played Betty Moses.
We traded stories and laughed over the fact that I; the Caucasion/German/Mennonite, consumed more alcohol than she did. The first time I heard her low pitched, rolling laugh like thunder in the distant hills I was addicted to this new friendship. Although it became obvious after a few rounds of story telling that Owl could cheerfully mop the floor with me in a scuffle, I felt safe which was rare.
Ancestry-wise, she hailed from a First Nation Reserve but we both grew up on farms in Northern Alberta where we'd learned to work hard; operating farm machinery at young ages.
As we compared histories, we discovered other similarities... like how we were both technologically illiterate and had both experienced a phenomenal amount of violence and domestic abuse in our lives. First in childhood then in adult relationships. We became trauma sisters; after realizing our dysfunctional, narcissistic family trees were more like cacti full of prickles. Our families had ganged up on us on numerous occasions and sided with each other no matter what the conflict was. We had been betrayed and left out in the cold everytime by relatives we would have done anything for. It only made sense that we had crossed paths.
"I sense our Higher Power is gathering all His broken children together," I told Owly.
As we drank coffee together and slowly packed up her life, my fierce little Indigenous amigo and I swapped clothing, jokes, and kabitzed about men and the small towns we had come to hate living in. We also lifted small amounts of tobacco to the sky when an Eagle circled overhead, reminding us to be grateful.
Big Eyed Owl - her full spiritual/cultural name, is such a giving spirit and loving soul who rescues animals and buys hot meals for homeless strangers. I am blessed to have known her and been part of her journey along life's treacherous terrain of pain, sorrow, beautiful scenery and friendship. Even when we lost, we won.