I really get tired of hearing all the drivel surrounding erstwhile royalty, and I wish the media would let it drop, and let these poor, pampered, underprivileged, hard-done by waifs vanish forever from the public consciousness. I am sorry they chose to move to Canada. Anywhere but here I say! Let others deal with a defrocked prince and a former starlet, a couple of have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too whiners, one of whom suffers from a severe case of silver-spoon-wedged- firmly-in-the-mouth-syndrome.
Today, Miriam and I went on a quest for authentic royalty, true aristocracy, the real thing. Could I be talking of anything but a Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus)? I think not.
It was a beautiful winter's day; an "Oh my, it's good to be alive" kind of day, and I think that these striking horses agreed with us.
Living in close proximity to Mennonite territory horses in the field are common sights here, but rarely have I seen this pattern of black-and-white. The horses frisked and gambolled and nuzzled into the snow to find morsels of grass. They seemed nothing short of elated, a mood to match our own.
Many churches are being abandoned due to declining congregations and this trend is especially noticeable in rural areas where there is a general exodus of young people into cities.
We could not decide whether this church has been abandoned or not. No path had been cleared to the door, yet the building appeared in good condition and seems to have even been recently painted. Perhaps it has been purchased for conversion to a residence as sometimes happens.
Large round bales of hay were in the fields, wrapped in white plastic, camouflaged in the snow.
Horned Larks (Eremophila alpestris) were quite common as we drove along rural roads, rarely coming within photographic range, however.
I have to tell you that Miriam has an exceptional ability to spot birds, and this talent seems to manifest itself especially with owls. It was she who spotted a white lump not too far from the road. She knew instantly it was a Snowy Owl.
Moreover, it was a wonderful pristine white male. Such a glorious creature! Such a regal figure!
Even princes have to attend to their toilette from time to time.
A house nearby looked very utilitarian and could not lay claim to style or grandeur. A lone tree seemed a fitting companion.
The wind had sculptured the snow drifts alongside creeks and ditches, forming beautiful curving shapes.
Snowmobile trails showed evidence of recent use.
I was glad that no machines were present with their clatter and roar to disturb the tranquility of our winter outing.
We drove up and down rural roads that held great promise for flocks of Snow Buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis) but none could be found.
It was impossible to leave without bidding farewell to the Snowy Owl, who had not moved from the position where we first found him.
May he have a long and productive life and father many offspring to bring joy to future dedicated observers.