Write Stuff: The Wise Old Owl

Four Seasons Resort Troon North Scottsdale

Four Seasons Resort Troon North Scottsdale

June 11, 2017

Editorial Note.

Be sure to enter the 2017 Write Stuff Contest. The Grand Prize is a stay for two at the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, including breakfast at the resort’s Proof Restaurant.  For complete information, click on the link below.

The piece below won second place in the 2004 Write Stuff Contest. J. Douglas Hinds, the author, went on to become a regular contributor of western poetry to The Peak. You will find more of his “work” in the “Oldies but Goodies” category,



2017 Write Stuff Contest Information

The Wise Old Owl

By J. Douglas Hinds

“Kyle, did you hear that?” I whispered in the dark. Familiar only with the sounds of a big city, this sound was peculiar to our young, inexperienced ears.

"Great Horned Owl" by Dennis Liddell

“Great Horned Owl” by Dennis Liddell

Whooo! Whooo!”

Frozen in our tracks, we strained our eyes and ears in the direction of the sound. My parents had rented a cabin on the lake and promised my brothers one week of great summer fun – an adventure we’d never forget. I began thinking maybe too much of an adventure.
Dad had said we could go down to the lake if we stayed on the trail. It was a short walk to the lake and through the pines we could see the full moon simmering across the water.

“Whooo! Whooo!


Dad and Mom flew off the porch swing when they heard us screaming up the trail. There’s something out there,” I said. “Something strange,” gasped Kyle. Dad listened for a moment as we all held our breath. “What did it sound like?” asked Dad. “It sounded like a man’s voice” I said. “It sounded like a ghost,” Kyle added. Who-who-ah-whoo, who-ah-whoo! “There it is!” Kyle and I chimed. Mom and Dad broke out laughing. “That’s just the “Wise Old Owl,” Dad said. “Sit down boys, I’ll tell you a story about the wise old owl.”


The wise old owl
Is he wise indeed?
He never asks what
He has no need

He never asks why
He never asks how
He only asks “Whooo?”
That wise old owl

He never asks when
He never asks where
The wise old owl
I guess doesn’t care

He only asks “Whoo?”
In the dark of the night
When the night wind blows
And the moon is bright

What makes him so wise
When he never asks how?
Is the wise old owl
All that wise now?

He blinks his big eyes
And turns his head right
But he only asks “Whooo?”
In the still of the night

We know he can’t warble
He certainly can’t sing
He can’t even chirp
Or do anything

But ask the same question
He wants to know “Whooo?”
He never asks why
That simply won’t do

He doesn’t ask where
Not wanting to know
But isn’t there some place
That he’d like to go

So is the old owl
All that wise now?|
If he never asks what
Why, when or how?

Dad took us back into the woods to meet the great horned owl, named for the horn-like tufts of feathers on their heads. They’re native to Canada, the U.S. and South America. As adults, they stand two feet tall with a five-foot wingspan. They live on the edge of the forest and hunt their prey in the open meadows at night. They spend their days perched in a tree or rocky overhang. Their eyes are almost as large as ours, and their feathers whisper softly as they swoop down on an unsuspecting meal.

“Whooo! Whooo!”

“It’s just us,” Kyle said with a wink.


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Author: John Hinds

John Douglas Hinds, who was raised on a ranch, is the retired senior partner with J.D. Hinds Professional Painting LLC. As a licensed residential and commercial painting contractor, he has painted “thousands of homes and businesses” in the Valley over the past 33 years. Hinds is a resident of Cave Creek and a frequent contributor to The Peak.

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