Sara the Snowy Owl 2021
Like Magic (2021)
Sara was flying circles over Saranac Lake. She was floating as much as she could on the breeze while she looked for friends and Winter Carnival Activities. She was early, and she thought there might be some activities. It was Wednesday and officially the 1956 carnival didn’t start until February 10.
It was early in the day and though there was some activity at the Ice Palace, not much building was going on. From a distance, it looked like the job was almost done. This year 25-year-old Don Duso was taking over as the ‘block cutter.’ The fluffy owl knew Don well and she could depend on him to make her a good home.
She had seen him often at Crescent Bay Marina helping out his dad, Harry Duso. Not to mention when Don was 10 he had pull Albert Einstein out of his sailboat on Lower Saranac Lake. The Nobel Prize winner had tangled up his leg in the rigging, though Einstein knew a good bit about physics, he couldn’t physically undo himself. Fortunately Don was out and about.
Sara swung around to Lake Colby and noticed in an open area there were four log targets perched on wood tripods. Each with an ax or two lodged into them. As the feathery bird descended, more axes hit the targets. Four woodsmen (well three were woodswomen) were now removing the axes. It was not so easy to tell who was who since all the woodsmen were bundled up. All for had scarves on that covered their faces.
Where they had been, a line was drawn. And a woman stood there with a clipboard and was writing down notes. Beside her were various saws, logs, cross saws and peaveys for moving logs around. Also, there looked to be the makings of a big bonfire, which was really the remains of the woodsmen practice. A good woodsmen generates a lot of kindling.
Sara introduced herself and learned the woman at the throwing line was Lucy Ford, the coach of the woodsmen team.
“And who are the masked marauders?” Sara asked the coach.
Lucy laughed and responded: “That would be a good moniker, or today it would be, but I have already dub them ‘The MAJC4’!” And when she said MAJC she pronounced it ‘magic’.
The the coach introduced the four: Marley (with the red scarf), Alana (with a sparkly princess scarf, that reflected in the sun like a flame), Jayde (with a multicolor scarf that dipped below her nose) and Christopher (with a simple black scarf). Their nickname was an acronym of their initials. The winter owl learned each of the four had their specialty, but all experts with the throwing ax. Also, they were preparing for the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Woodsmen’s Exhibition.
Once Sara had the times and dates of the performance, she said her goodbyes and headed out to see some old friends and to check on the Ice Palace. She also wanted to say hello to Tony (aka (Alton B. "Tony" Anderson)
Tony was 56, and looked like he would live to be 100. He had come to Saranac Lake suffering from tuberculosis when he was 20. Like many, ‘the cure’ worked for Tony and he thrived in Village by the River... He was now mayor now, as well as the Winter Carnival Chamberlin. Tony a mover and shaker in Saranac Lake and the man to talk to if you wanted to know what was going on in the Village. The mayor caught Sara up on the different happenings from the past year, as well as some of the events planned for the coming weekend.
He asked his white feathery friend if Sara would help with the PTA Children's Skating Party. He knew the snowy owl never turned down a chance to dance with children and had an idea of adding limbo to the event. Sara now had her itinerary almost set for the weekend.
As the two chums were departing the mayor asked: “By the way how are you going to make this Winter Carnival special.”
Sara gave Tony a bemused look. Then Tony added: “Every year, one way or another, you find a way to brighten our lives.... but no pressure. Ha ha.”
On her flight to the Palace she was lost in thoughts. All the years Sara had come to Saranac Lake, she had thought it was the residents of the village who had illuminated HER life, not the other way around. Then, like a flash, a lightbulb went off above the head of the big white bird. Instead of landing at the Palace, she turned a tail feather and headed back to Lake Colby.
The MAJC4 were collecting their scraps when Sara landed. She quickly told them the plan. While they weren’t into it so much, until Sara told them they get to throw their axes and there would be fire. All they had to do is fill five bushel baskets with their driest splinter. They only had four days to prepare so she had to be quick.
She swooped over to Carl Hathaway’s Boat Shop. She sold her idea to the boat builders Carl and Ralph Morrow, they both thought it was a crazy idea, but pointed out so was trying to make a living out of making guideboats and agreed they could build four simple catapults in four days, in fact with their extra trim they could do it in two.
It was a good thing that Sara the Snowy Owl could fly. It helped her to attend most of the events and still be able to help out MAJC4 and Carl and Ralph. Like most years it was a great Carnival, but when it was over Sara would need a week of rest.
The ‘big moment’ came on Sunday, February 10. To make sure everyone was at the Ice Palace hooked a cable to cauldron filled with woodsmen scraps, set it aflame and started circling the Village. The bird was noticed and villagers began to follow her to the Ice Palace. When she landed to restock her cauldron, Sara was coughing. That is when Jayde of the MAJC4 gave her her scarf to stop the smoke from getting into the Snowy Owl’s beak. Now she looked like a masked marauder.
After the second loop, most of Saranac Lake had assembled at the Ice Palace. Then Sara gave the signal and the axes started to fly, severing the the ropes attached to the catapults, sending the flaming baskets high into the air for a night show few would forget.
Bringing luminance the Saranac Lake night.