25 years ago at a lake I nearly drowned. I can still feel the water burning sensation on the back of my nasal cavity. I smell the algae that was blooming on the lake. I hear the music playing from the portable radio on shore. I was trying to get a stone I saw shimmering about ten foot below me. It got lost though as someone tried to be funny and yanked my foot up towards the surface while I was going down. The sudden change in direction surged water in my nose. I swam to the surface as quick as I could, but water had already got into my lungs. Friends laughed thinking they scared me, but I was too busy coughing up water that got to my lungs.
I went to shore as fast as I could and spent about 15 minutes on my hands and knees coughing trying to clear my lungs. While I was doing that I noticed the light changed around me as well as the sounds. The laughing faded off to a distance, and up front was familiar sound of a raven calling. For a brief moment I thought that it was an odd phenomenon. Finally the friend who grabbed my foot realized I was in a rough spot and came up to check on me. “You ok? I didn’t mean to startle ya. Do you need anything?” I I shook my head and waved my hand signaling I would be fine. I started to breathe easier and I explained what happened. He felt bad, but we really laughed about it in the end.
A short while later I got one of my migraines. It was a bag one considering on top of it I was having an allergic reaction to some of the algae that was still in my nasal cavity. My eyes were red and swollen. My lungs still hurt from all the coughing. We had no air conditioning and it was very humid in our area. I took some Benadryl as well as some Tylenol and tried to lay down. It took a while to fall asleep, but I still remember the dream.
I was with a small clan of people. We were preparing for winter. Getting the last of the dimmer crops in and storing feed for the livestock. There was a fear of raiders coming. For d sad one reason our elders were talking of a band of men coming to raid our lands. Something to do with the visions of one of the elder women. they decided we needed a sentinel to protect the village. I was pulled into one of the homes and asked if I would stand watch. I was told it was a great honor. I agreed and was given a drink. I assumed it was a celebratory ale, but it tasted bitter and sweet all at once. I coughed and started to burn a bit. The air went icy around me as a sudden fever took me. Suddenly I was high in the sky, soaring over the land. I could see clear in the dark. I realized I had become a bird. This was the first time I remember becoming the snowy owl. I landed in a tree looking out over the moonlit fields. As the sun came up I became restless and suddenly I was back in my bed. Back in my own home. Back to human form. Then I woke up from the dream. Still listening to the birds outside my tent. The sun was coming up and I stepped out to the dew covered grass. I took a breath and thought how odd the dream was. Then a mourning dove flew from the ground to a tree branch overhead. I knew I felt different again. Like something else was awake inside of me. I felt renewed and more connected.
I’m sure that was when I became Snowy Owl.