Friday, May 17, 2013

hawk from the heavens

Yesterday, from my chair in the backyard, I could see the contrails of military jets against the blue-blue sky. They were headed southwest at intervals of three or four miles, flying at 20- to 30,000 feet. I wondered idly if the United States had started another war and how many classrooms might be built if just one of those contrails were redirected ... just some lazy, liberal, comsymp thinking.

From the Internet
Suddenly, below the hunters on high, a red-tailed hawk swam into view. S/he floated on outspread wings, circling lazily on currents of air I could not see. Floating, floating, floating ... and, as always, mesmerizing me.

What is it that is so marvelous about seeing a wild animal in its habitat? I don't know, but I do know that I can marvel and marveling is delicious.

And then, without warning, the hawk folded back its wings and plummeted -- something I had never seen before. It was clearly a deliberate, locked-on-target move. The hawk's wings were not entirely flush with its body: Small 'elbows' (I don't know how else to describe it) were extended like rudders to guide the bird's trajectory. The smoothness and commitment of the fall were a wonder to watch ... no fear, no glory, no wonder ... just falling, smooth as Vaseline on a thermometer.

It seemed to take a very long time, though it was only a few seconds, and I worried that the hawk might be too slow to nab whatever mouse or mole or other lunchable had caught its eye. The bird seemed to be headed into my neighbor's yard, but that yard is blocked by high shrubs and so, eventually, I lost sight of this dive bomber.

I missed the denouement, the success, the victory or defeat.

And yet, because I had never seen such a plummeting maneuver in person, I felt scrumptiously fulfilled.

Things were just "way kool!"

1 comment:

  1. I was equally mesmerised recently Adam..We have a large native hawk called the Red Kite. 20 years ago they were extinct in England due to shooting.. at that time they were not legally protected, they now are. But an enclave population of these handsome birds remained in Wales.
    In a controlled conservation project a number of pairs were released in the Chiltern Hills about 30 miles from London..this has been extraordinarily successful. First they spread back along the valleys to the city of Oxford..then eastwards towards Greater London.
    A few days ago I was on our balcony when I heard a familiar cry..looking up there was a Kite circling in the thermals..they have just reached this area.
    I was, as my grandaughters would say... " well chuffed."