Nature in Flight

I very recently returned to taking daily walks again, and shame on me once more, for dropping it over a year ago! On my walk yesterday morning I noticed a large dark chocolate color hawk sitting on someone’s backyard chain link fence. He was a beauty. He had a bit of a lighter brown spread across his thick chest. I was afraid if I took my phone out to take a picture, this hawk might think I was pointing with something else and I did not want to interrupt his morning coffee break or my chance of pleasure. Once I got home I looked through the web for hawks in southeastern Arizona and did not find one exactly like this fellow. A Harris hawk came the closest, but still not the same markings.

Neighborhood hawks have been common for years in our area, swooping in to wait and watch for one of the hundreds of Mourning or White-winged dove. These predators are either a Sharp-skinned hawk or Cooper’s hawk or perhaps both, their identity very similar.  At times one will park on the side of my birdbath, take his dip, then fly back to a branch to wait. Such stern patience.

When my cats were smaller, I felt one of these hawks could easily carry my little friend off, and if I spotted a landing, rushed to the kitty to bring it inside, pointing and repeating “bad bird!” My cats have always been indoors, but I  allow them out only when I am with them and then tote under each arm to bring back inside against their exploratory wishes.  

The years we boated on Apache Lake, Red Tail hawks flew over the water like a glimmering thread, pulling their wings into the side and then out, coasting for miles. While we anchored and soaked in the sun or cast a line, their flight path were like spools unwinding, over and over, circles drifting wider and broader. Always as our eyes floated with their pattern, their soaring would take us by a nest of a Bald Eagle high up on a rocky cliff. We let the Red Tail depart, our eyes fixed on the nest with our binoculars.

I am not a professional bird watcher by any means, but like a living being, each has their personality and their reasons by design in doing things their way. Whether I walk our local River Path where coyotes, rattlesnakes, javelina, and various hawks roam, or through my backyard, both are notably full of nature. And when I walk with my cats, we can be surprised at different times of the day by what may be visiting.  

Climb Inside a Daisy and Sit

In Jackie’s last Friday blog, she brought up marketing. We are finding out the time it takes to include research of possible businesses for our book, introductions in person, names and note keeping, follow-ups, updates, contacts, emails, zoom discussions, phone calls, interviews with local newspapers and magazines, and to score book launch opportunities and hopefully a podcast. I swore I would not allow this to control or take over my life once I realized the time it takes. I became aware that this type of dedication could easily turn into a type of aggravation and flow over to those near at hand. I had to fight with myself to use balance, not to forget the smaller things that give me pleasure, to equalize that poise in day-to-day life to treat myself well and others.    

An example is one morning some time ago in my ‘morning pages’ I write: I noticed my cats, Tango and Maisie outside exploring. My husband took them out after breakfast, their insistent ritual, a tiny pleasure to explore the early morning before the neighborhood grows heavy with sun and activity. He walks with his tea, mindless. I watch from the screened-in porch…Tango follows his idol and wraps his long fluffy pale-yellow tail around his pants, unmoving except for the light swish, tap, swish of his tail against the cotton pant leg. My husband looks down and says something. Tango looks up and I see his mouth open and close, replying. Tango moves on and stands on a large flat rock with a fossil from the Town Creek where I grew up in Illinois. He sits poised, stares at the edge of the rock, then pounces on something tiny that I cannot see. It jumps, a grasshopper, and Tango is on it, his two paws batting and holding it down. Crunch crunch. 

Maisie sees this and runs from behind the ferns and sneaks low through the lantana, her eyes fixed on Tango. She finds a bare spot where a few days ago I pulled out a Yellow Bell, the dirt still soft. Maisie folds her body into it, head low on her front paws, and continues to fixate on Tango. She spins and plops, spins and plops, chasing nothing. Tango easily ignores her antics. He continues on his stroll, steps unto the brick path, and drops and rolls.

A shadow flies low overhead, a red-crested woodpecker, and lands on the Mulberry tree in the neighbor’s yard. Tango sees it dip, rise, dip, rise, and land on the trunk. He turns his head away and licks his front paw. I smell the drift of hot coffee steaming in the cool morning, and the open sweetness from the Pink Star Jasmine. When in bloom, it’s like a slow sultry jazz note from New Orleans. I now know what jazz smells like. 

It’s Wednesday morning and the garbage truck breaks my rumination. It throttles and rattles down and up the streets, louder, whining and thuds the heavy-duty plastic cans to the sidewalk. It is time to move about and get our day on track. Here kitty, kitty, kitty, time to come in and leave our daisies behind.

Reading this brought me to the present when I went back inside then, and as I go now. I can balance my tasks, my new responsibilities as we move forward with our book and how I can enjoy this new experience! Time and balance to encompass all the necessities as well as the tiny ones I might otherwise overlook.