The homecoming

The homecoming

December 25, 2019
Early, very early this Christmas morning (at 4am just as the day was dawning), there was a tap-tapping on the front door. I sat up in bed and looked into the half-light of the new Christmas Day and, fretting it might be a Santa-emergency, hurried downstairs. I opened the door. At first I didn't see you. (I had expected a tallish, plump man wearing a white beard and a red hat.) "Happy Christmas!" you said. I looked down 
and when I realised it was you I was so happy I straightaway started to cry. (Always back-to-front.) "Have you come home?" I said, sniffing and crouching. "Yes," you said. "I'm your Christmas present." You ruffled a wing at some pretty things you'd brought with you. "These too. Do you like them?" "I love them," I said. "But I love you the most." So you came inside. And you have been here, telling me owl stories, ever since. (The one about how the dishevelled little owl came to be wearing a woollen scarf, knitted beanie, and snow boots on a hot Australian Christmas Day was the best, of all.)