Last week, P and I saw a crow chase a red-tail away from her next on the front pasture. It was like watching jet fighters chasing each other through the sky. Maverick and Goose had nothing on these birds.
They dove, they screamed. They rose, they pivoted. I stood, awed.
Eventually, the crow moved the hawk far enough away to be safe and turned back to the nest. A nest I’ve never seen – in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crow’s nest, despite the fact that this expression is familiar. This bird’s nest must be near, maybe down by the creek at the front of the neighbor’s pasture. I may have to look up more to find it.
And yet, it is the hawk I want back, not so he can eat the crow’s eggs, but so he can soar over my land and bless it.
Hawks are a promise to me, a gift given each time I need to be reminded that all is well and will be well. I’ve seen them at moments of great crisis – tears streaming, chest shaking as I drive down 95 – and of great peace – in the months after Mom died, out of reach but there.
I saw my first hawk-promise on a hike around Bremo when I was 22, fresh out of college, just returned from my move to New York that had failed. I was broken my tears and aimlessness. So I took to my feet and walked until I didn’t know where I was.
There, by an old pasture now speckled with old mattresses and discarded stoves, she sat. Proud, big, right at shoulder level to me. She sat, looked back, and then flew with no sound . . . and dropped a feather just at my feet.
So today, as I hear a hawk cry, I take breath in the promise of silent flight and hope soaring.