I just finished my 2nd read ever of Owls In The Family by Farley Mowat. I read this book as a little kid (in fact, some of it was probably read to me), and it’s stuck in my memory as a favorite. Part of this post’s purpose is to try to get at some of the reasons why I love this book so much, since sometimes our emotional responses to things are a big part of their significance to us, and that’s hard to explain sometimes. And by the way, I have to say at the outset that I can’t wait to read this book to my own kids in a few years. This one has some fun in store for us, I think.
So I read this book when I was fairly small, and I really believe it helped form my love for certain things as an adult. This was a bedtime read (I don’t remember how young I was exactly), but growing up in suburban Southern California, this story gave me a love for the wilderness that was available to me as a kid. I don’t think it registered at the time that the setting of Saskatoon was in Canada – but what the book did was give me a love for the prairie-like hill country that surrounds where I grew up (and still live).
Owls contributed, too, to a wonder, and even a humor that you find in normal everyday things if you come at the world from the right perspective. The kids in the book find a couple of owls, take them in as pets, “adopting” them into the family. Some pretty funny events take place in the story, but there’s really nothing too crazy about them – what makes it funny, and just plain great, is all in the joy of reminiscing about what happened the spring and summer the year Mowat found the owls. It’s all significant because it happened to a human being, and the book doesn’t add really any more wonder to the plain things of life than what we can find in our own. The boys in the book don’t go around wishing life would be more exciting or crazy – they get excited about a poplar bluff out on the Saskatchewan prairie, and about the mystery of what plain ol’ things they might find there. Like owls, for instance.
I think this book taught me to love the plain stuff of life, and to not be so easily bored with it like we’re all often prone to. The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof. It’s just fine to be amazed by the everyday, because God made it and brings His attributes into full and immanent contact with us through the things that are made.
Like I said, this is another book I’m looking forward to reading with my kids. I hope they like it too.