His voice cuts through the cold night air, asking a question for which I have no answer.
“Who,” indeed. Even if I knew, what would I say? I doubt that he knows human-speak beyond that single word.
He is but a mystery in the night. I know not his size, or color, or specific breed. All I know is that he is out there in the frigid blackness, announcing his presence to all who might be listening. Preferably another owl. And preferably of the opposite sex.
I am transfixed by that sound. I lie silent, barely breathing, listening, hoping to hear a response from another tree in those snowy woods. But I hear nothing, save the occasional “who,” from the same location as before. And I wonder, is he lonely? Maybe pining for a lost mate? Or is his hearing so sharp that he is picking up a response I cannot hear. Perhaps a response that is also a mysterious “who” to a neighbor, lying awake in another bed, listening to the night.
And I wonder about the owl's grammar. Is it correct, or should he be saying, “whom?”