《蛙文》/ Frogscript 2 • 郭少鳳 Evette Kwok

Japanese Frog for Frogscript_Thumbnail_2 FEB 2018

Please scroll down for the English translation!

《蛙文:貓頭鷹》

郭少鳳著

我同貓頭鷹一早已結下不解之緣:所有親戚都話我一出生嘅時候已經好似貓頭鷹,有一雙圓圓嘅大眼睛,原來仲有一段唔太光彩嘅故仔。聽講我媽咪大肚懷著我時,食用過貓頭鷹,佢哋覺得呢個係我似貓頭鷹嘅原因。

聽到呢啲故仔真係得啖笑,不過可能因著呢個源故,我覺得同貓頭鷹好有緣,由細到大都好鐘意貓頭鷹,對任何貓頭鷹嘅卡通公仔,都愛不釋手,後來知道貓頭鷹喺好多唔同嘅文化當中,都象徵著智慧同學問,年少時覺得甚有意思,更加決定成為貓頭鷹嘅愛戴者。

第一次去嘉道理農場見工時,當時對於咩嘢環境教育、生態保育嘅知識都冇,記得見完工,動物部嘅主管叫我去園內嘅下山區,睇睇動物展覽,然後寫寫點樣設計教育資訊,再用電郵方式寄返俾佢評估。

去到動物展覽場地,超級開心,見到有一個好大嘅猛禽展覽區,分兩部份:日間猛禽同夜間猛禽。見到好多麻鷹同埋三隻貓頭鷹,第一次見到貓頭鷹嘅真身,佢哋一動也不動,眼睛瞪得好大,眼神相當凌厲,會令人覺得佢哋有一股好強嘅氣勢。可能被貓頭鷹嚇嚫,返到屋企都唔識點寫教育資訊,第一次喺嘉道理求職失敗了。不過我冇放棄,又繼續揾,加上運氣,最終嘉道理都俾咗個機會我,第二次面試成功了。

係嘉道理工作後,就一直想係野外遇見貓頭鷹,記得有一次喺嘉道理嘅夜遊活動,每個參加者全程都要好安靜,因為唔想嚇嚫啲動物,攪到成晚都冇收穫。我當晚嘅目標就係希望見到貓頭鷹。

喺黑忟忟嘅樹林裏面,大家都好安靜咁行,突然聽到「嗚…」一聲,動物部專家告知係領角鶚(一種貓頭鷹)嘅叫聲。嘩,好興奮,知道最想見嘅貓頭鷹係附近,於是不停咁用電筒照在樹木嘅枝條上,努力咁想揾佢出嚟打個招呼。好可惜,當晚只聽到叫聲,冇緣見到貓頭鷹嘅真身!

貓頭鷹係夜間活動嘅猛禽,亦即係靠捕食其他動物為生嘅雀鳥。貓頭鷹嘅羽毛構造相當特別,其中主翼前排嘅梳狀羽毛,可以消除飛行時發出嘅聲音,所以被補食嘅動物,包括青蛙丶鼠類等等都難以察覺貓頭鷹呢種捕食者,已經不知不覺係佢哋附近,真係危機四伏,同一道理,我哋人類係晚上都好難見到貓頭鷹。

貓頭鷹同蛙類動物一樣都係十分神秘嘅夜行動物,雖然可以聽到叫聲,好似為靜靜嘅黑夜演奏,但仍然好難揾到佢哋嘅影踪。佢哋發聲嘅目標都係一樣,為咗覇地盤同埋求偶,相當有趣!

我有時都會幻想自己變成一隻貓頭鷹,每晚都會喺自己居嗰間村屋度飛去村後面嘅社山風水林,飛往社山神木,一棵超過三、四百歲嘅大樟樹上,享受大自然嘅寧靜,同時亦可運用貓頭鷹銳利嘅目光、特強嘅聽力,睇睇聽聽樹林內各種有趣嘅點滴,或許可以見到野豬一家出來揾食、或許聽到蛙蛙們求偶唱歌、或許見到蝙蝠出來食蚊,每當到我嘅肚開始餓,又係時候飛返屋企開飯。

img_0519_owl_2-feb-2018.jpg

“Frogscript • Owls”

by Evette Kwok

A very long time ago, I formed an indissoluble bond with owls: from the moment I was born all my relatives said that I looked like one with my big round eyes. But behind this lies a story, and not a very flattering one at that — they say that when my mother was pregnant with me, she once ate some owl-meat, and it is for this reason they thought I turned out looking rather owlish.

Such stories are rather ridiculous, of course, but it is perhaps for this reason that I have a strong affinity with owls. I’ve liked them ever since I was small, and couldn’t bear to part with any story-book that had an owl in it. Later on, when I found out that they were symbols of wisdom and learning in many different cultures, this added to their intrigue for me and made me even more determined to become a lover and supporter of owls.

The first time I went for a job interview at Kadoorie Farm, I didn’t have the faintest idea about environmental education or ecological protection. As I recall, when the interview was over, the person in charge of animals told me to pay a visit to the lower area of the farm and to take a look at the animals get on display there. I was then to write something about how to design educational information and to email this back for appraisal.

I was delighted when I saw the large display area set aside for birds of prey divided into two section, one for diurnal birds and the other for nocturnal species. There I saw a large number of black-eared kites as well as three owls. This was the first time that I had ever seen an owl in the flesh: they stood there completely motionless with their wide-open, staring eyes which shone with a ferocious gleam that made you feel just how imposing they were. Perhaps the owls completely overawed me: by the time I got home, I couldn’t even begin to write any educational information, and my first attempt to find a job at Kadoorie Farm ended in failure. That didn’t discourage me, however,  and I went on trying to get a job there. Eventually, with a bit of luck, they gave me a second chance and my second job interview was successful.

After I began work at Kadoorie Farm, I kept hoping that I would get to see an owl in the wild. I remember going on a night walk the Farm one night: every one who took part had to make as little noise as possible so that they would not scare the animals away — otherwise, our night would have been in vain. My goal on that night was to see an owl.

We were walking very quietly through the pitch-black forest when all of a sudden we heard something go woo. An expert from the animals section told us that this was the cry of a collared Scops owl. Boy, was I excited, knowing that the bird I wanted to see most of all was close by, and so I kept shining my torch up into the branches, trying as hard as I could to locate the bird so that I could say my hello’s to it. Unfortunately for me, that night all I did was hear an owl — I wasn’t destined to actually get to see a real owl!

Owls are birds of prey that hunt by night, and they rely on hunting for their food in order to survive. The structure of an owl’s feathers is something quite special: the comb-shaped feathers at the front of the main part of their wings are designed so as to eliminate any noise made during flight, and so the animals owls prey on, including frogs and mice, have trouble detecting their presence until it is too late — truly a case of being “beset by dangers on all sides”. It is for this reason, too, that we human beings have trouble sighting owls at night.

Like amphibians such as frogs, owls are deeply mysterious nocturnal creatures. Although you can hear their calls — performing as it were for the quiet of the night — it is almost impossible to find any concrete trace of them. But even the sounds they make to stake their claim on a piece of territory or to attract a mate are intriguing.

Sometimes I imagine myself turning into an owl and flying off every evening from my home to the feng shui woods behind where I live and to the Spirit Tree of She Shan Mountain — an ancient camphor tree more than three, perhaps even four, hundred years old — where I would sit and enjoy the tranquillity of nature and to make good use of my penetrating owl eyesight and exceptional powers of hearing to take in the various fascinating fine details of the forest, or to watch a whole family of boar going out in search of food, or to take in the song-like mating calls of the frogs, or to see the bats chase down mosquitos. But whenever I began to feel hungry myself, I would fly back to my home and cook my own dinner there.

Translated by Simon Patton

 

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