Reflections by the Sea: A snowy owl

Published 2:18 pm Saturday, January 22, 2022

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By Betsy Ore Glass

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6 ESV 

A recent trip to New England with my daughter proved to be fun and exciting in many ways. We toured, shopped and ate our way through many charming towns right before Christmas. We even came across a small beach offering a decorated Christmas tree in the sand to welcome beachgoers like us.

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My daughter, the best photographer I know, wanted to go on a hike through a nearby park in hopes of sighting a snowy owl. There had been some chatter that one was near and through the grapevine many people flocked to the area with great hopes of a sighting. The chances were slim, but in the cold 30 degree temperatures, we set out on our own adventure to find the owl. We met other photographers on our journey toting tripods, camera bags filled with gear and more.

The sun was setting. It was time to turn back, but we kept going another few minutes. Finally, disappointed, we turned and headed back to the long trail to the car. But before we gave up, I stopped and said, “Let’s pray . . . God, we have come a long way. We would love to see a snowy owl and get a photograph of it. Amen.” Then, moments later, something caught our attention to the right of us. Yes, it was a snowy owl sitting atop a tree looking at us as we looked at her. She was beautiful. A crown of sorts on the top of her head, the pure white plumage made her look more like a stuffed animal than the majestic creature she was. We were in awe. After we got some photos – and my daughter’s new zoom lens for her camera proved to be a worthy early Christmas present – we continued on to the car. We were speechless. This was a rare sighting of a rare bird.

Is it because we asked God? I choose to believe so. I believe He wants to give us the desires of our heart. It built my faith that God had given us special favor and I believe it built my daughters’ faith as well. God is always there. He hears our every word, He knows our every thought.

As the bird flew overhead with a wing span of about 6 feet, she disappeared as if magically. Others had gathered around us and we were all dumbfounded that the beautiful owl disappeared as fast as she appeared. A God moment? Maybe. But one thing for sure, we experienced a moment when we drew close to God and He to us giving us a beautiful gift from nature.

Betsy Ore Glass has long-standing ties to the Outer Banks. From Virginia Beach, her family bought a vacation cottage in the 60s and her love of the area began. Later in the 90s, Betsy and her husband bought a weekend cottage and introduced the area to their children. Then Betsy’s parents retired to KDH where the family gathered often. Reach her at or read additional Reflections at