A big bird landed with a loud flutter in a tree at dusk Sunday night. “Is that an owl?” Wynn asked. The calm strong HOOT answered her question and sent a flood of warmth into numb cold-with-grief bones. We had just turned back from the river after sharing yet another crying session. Cliff grew up on the banks of the Yellowstone – the river his backyard. Literally. One spring he and I waded the river with furniture over our heads when it flooded his parents’ house. Dinner by the river was Raymond’s idea. “The owl will be here when we return,” Raymond said with confidence when our waitress announced with a friendly yell that our appetizers were ready. We climbed the stairs to our table outside the Yellowstone Valley Grill and shared a meal so impressively delicious it coaxed joy into deep sadness. We celebrated our love of Cliff and his love of life. After dessert the three of us walked past the fire pit to the bank of the river. The owl hooted in darkness, we lit candles, Raymond pulled off his boots, waded into water more-than-refreshingly cold and launched the floatilla crafted with love. I marveled at the magic of place, the strength of love, the ability to endure and the encouraging enchanting befitting presence of the owl.