Educated by Tara Westover

Educated by Tara Westover

Author:Tara Westover
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Published: 2018-02-20T05:00:00+00:00

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ONE WINTER, WHEN I was very young, Luke found a great horned owl in the pasture, unconscious and half frozen. It was the color of soot, and seemed as big as me to my child eyes. Luke carried it into the house, where we marveled at its soft plumage and pitiless talons. I remember stroking its striped feathers, so smooth they were waterlike, as my father held its limp body. I knew that if it were conscious, I would never get this close. I was in defiance of nature just by touching it.

Its feathers were soaked in blood. A thorn had lanced its wing. “I’m not a vet,” Mother said. “I treat people.” But she removed the thorn and cleaned the wound. Dad said the wing would take weeks to mend, and that the owl would wake up long before then. Finding itself trapped, surrounded by predators, it would beat itself to death trying to get free. It was wild, he said, and in the wild that wound was fatal.

We laid the owl on the linoleum by the back door and, when it awoke, told Mother to stay out of the kitchen. Mother said hell would freeze over before she surrendered her kitchen to an owl, then marched in and began slamming pots to make breakfast. The owl flopped about pathetically, its talons scratching the door, bashing its head in a panic. We cried, and Mother retreated. Two hours later Dad had blocked off half the kitchen with plywood sheets. The owl convalesced there for several weeks. We trapped mice to feed it, but sometimes it didn’t eat them, and we couldn’t clear away the carcasses. The smell of death was strong and foul, a punch to the gut.

The owl grew restless. When it began to refuse food, we opened the back door and let it escape. It wasn’t fully healed, but Dad said its chances were better with the mountain than with us. It didn’t belong. It couldn’t be taught to belong.



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