Running on the trails behind the high school today, a owl swoops through the woods, heads along the path, and then veers rapidly into the canopy. I run after him, but he’s gone.

Omen, clearly. But of what?

My luck to see this winged beauty?

Or a warning to keep my eyes open? Or just an owl searching for supper? I can look back on my life now and see all kinds of omens I missed — or blatantly ignored — but maybe, I keep thinking, those were merely owls, then, too….

Then, sometime during the fourth year, the omens will abandon you, because you’ve stopped listening to them.

— Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist