This is a place I call The Owl Room. It's the top floor of an antique barn in New Hampshire. My mom and I find ourselves there about once a year. The thing that endears this room to me so is the fact that all of these owls - hundreds and hundreds of them - belonged to one woman. She collected them her whole life. Some are made of sea shells, some are hand-painted, some are manufactured. I walk around the room and look at each owl and wonder when she got it. Did she buy it for herself? Was it a gift?
I wonder about her life. What possessed her to keep so many owls?
This piece from an essay Tennessee Williams wrote about his sister's collection of glass animals (which inspired The Glass Menagerie) always comes to mind:
"By poetic association they came to represent, in my memory, all the softest emotions that belong to recollection of things past. They stood for all the small and tender things that relieve the austere pattern of life and make it endurable to the sensitive."
I love visiting this owl room because it feels like a sacred space. There is a quiet comfort in the fact that these owls have been together for so long; they come as a unit. One by one they leave and go to new homes (I have a few), and this woman's collection lives on in the rooms of so many new people.