I was in Philadelphia recently and it was snowing and so naturally I got to talking with a couple of my friends about snowy owls which is really just another way of saying that for perhaps the zillionth time this year, I led an already happy conversation to what I would consider a bit of a happier place: Hedwig. What is it about her, the question went, that you love? Oh my.
Perhaps I will always love her beautiful, distinct personality. The way she nuzzles Harry and clicks her beak at him. How she swoops around sometimes, how lovely that must have been to watch, and how lovely it is to step back and watch lovely things, like a face turn into a smile or a right-fielder make one of those throws to a third-baseman that make you wish you’d seen Roberto Clemente play in Pittsburgh or Brooks Robinson in Baltimore. I think her snow-white feathers help, as does the way she rations her independence and loyalty. Such a trusted, unquestioned friend. And perhaps best of all, how Harry’s face just lights right on up when he sees her. May we all have someone who flaps into a room and delights us so, that all we can really bring ourselves to do is react with a happy, smiley HEDWIG! before we give them a bit of a rub-scratch.
I was in my bed watching the snow come down the week after I got back from Philadelphia. My Christmas tree was lit in the small, simple way that makes me happy to lie there facing it, and as I hope will always always always be the case when I stumble into the general vicinity of anything that can be described as snowy, my mind, for a moment, went to Hedwig. Moments later, I listened to this podcast.