Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Morning Thanks--the Red-Tailed Hawk

It's what I saw yesterday, three times, just out back, but not who. Sadly, this is not a picture I took; I wish it was. This particular monarch is not one of the royals hunting the river valley. I couldn't get a picture, and there lies the tale. 

On a sabbath afternoon, a pair of them were riding thermals as if the world was a fun park. Ostensibly, they were hunting, but I couldn't help thinking that, like everyone else, they were simply taking in the kind of spring day the likes of which you can find only in a children's book--warm, open skies, festooned with clouds thrown up in the sky by a crowd of clowns.

Three times I spotted them, even though their motionless gliding keeps them hidden. They cover ground as if there's little beneath them worth their time, swooping and climbing effortlessly. Nothing else I know covers ground so efficiently. Borne about on yesterday's strong winds, they gobble up whole townships without stirring a feather. 

Three times I spotted them--twice from the back windows and once when I was outside--and three times I was a floor away from my big lens. Three times I ran upstairs or downstairs to get what I had to, and three times, toting the camera, I came back to wide open skies, totally bereft of red-tails. 

It wasn't a game. They weren't toying with me. They're far too regal to play with the peons. I'm not sure they know I exist. What's out back is all their ranch, after all, and they have far more pressing concerns than an old bald guy toting that expensive camera. 

They're everywhere. They hunt from telephone poles in every state of the union, and they're killers. Keep that in mind. After all, the rabbits and pheasants out back certainly do. 

There were two of them yesterday, and by the playful ways they circled each other I couldn't help thinking they were in love. Hey, it's spring, right? Everybody is, or should be. They may have told each other they were hunting, but that was only an excuse. 

I don't think the Yankton Sioux were all wrong. Some of them believed that if you took their picture you'd run off with a part of their soul in that camera. I'm guessing that's something they learned from eagles and hawks. Stay up high and aloof, just be graceful, in every sense of that beautiful word. 

This morning, I'm thankful for our regal red-tailed neighbors. They're frustratingly uppity, but then the backyard is certainly more theirs than it is ours.

Still, one of these days I swear I'll get a picture.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Raptors are some of my favorites!

Sometimes the rascals hunt next to my bird-feeder.... the red-tailed hawk can put on quite an aerial display and often can be seen sunning themselves along the edge of woods... the bald-eagle is ever present in my part of the country and can spot a free meal a mile away... birds of prey are cool blessings!

James, great story!