Friday, April 25, 2014

She Flies Alone

I'd previously discovered it, tucked away off the hidden hill. 
I walked to the cemetery to cry, to cry until my eyes were dry.  Sitting alone on the bowed bench I read the names and dates of lives long ago spent, but no tears fell.  I wanted to cry, so I waited.  Sitting alone in the shade waiting allowed my eyes to wonder and my babbling brain to relax.  

There out of the corner of my eye I noticed large flapping wings swish down from a tree behind me, then land on top of a nearby fence facing away from me.  I couldn't help but follow it's path and gaze with my eyes.  Neither of us moved at that point.

I could tell from its head and sharp beak that it must have been some type of hawk.  Not a Red Tail Hawk from my prairie lands of Kansas, not a Swainson's Hawk that I'd identified at Prairie Dunes; to thin for a Barred Owl; but no name for that silent bird that perched so close.  I could see it's black or brown bands across the tail and hoped that with that much information I could later put a name to the bird.

Then a stark cry came from a limb overhead, over and over the bird above screamed, and I thought that there must be babies nearby or dinner for the hawk.  Still neither of us moved.  Suddenly, the crow above shot down over the trees in a right flank attack and dared the hawkish bird to fly.  At the same instance it seemed, another crow launched a frontal attacked, while I remained glued to the scene.  The hawk ruffled its feathers, as if annoyed.  

One more attack launched and still no movement from the perched bird except to turn it's head in an almost owl-like movement. More curious than ever I silently stood up to walk closer to this creature.  No more than two steps had I taken when the bird flapped its wings and leaped to a nearby tree. Backtracking to the bench I remembered I wanted to cry, but curiosity about the bird kept me occupied.  It must have known I needed a distraction today because it flew from the far tree on my right to a empty space only two rows from me in the cemetery.  I froze.  Right there in front of me and on no ones grave this bird looked me square in the face, ignored me, and began to preen itself while dancing a little two step to the right and then to the left. Laughter blurted from my chest causing the bird to stop its dance and honestly look at me with a scowling glare. The giggles continued quietly.  At last the bird flew away, circled once like a vulture and disappeared.

Delphiniums nibbled by bunnies. 
On the way home my eyes began to fill with tears, tears of frustrations. Turning the corner to home I noticed that Jack's pickup was gone. In a panic, the number to open the garage door left my worried mine (I carried no keys nor cell phone on the walk.).  Before the tears could really flow I noticed my newest plants, Delphiniums, (planted just last night!) were being eaten by a creature.  I sat down on the garden wall with a  sigh.  This time out of the corner of my left eye I saw ground movement--two tiny bunnies were living in our small raised garden in the front yard.  Oh, dear. Quietly, I walked around the raised brick wall to where the bunnies sat frozen in space, camouflaged beautifully.  Then I remembered the bunny hair and entrails I saw on my walk the other morning.   "I'm sorry," I whispered.

Nature lives its cycles, even in the confines of suburbia.  I walked away and clicked the front door.  Jack hadn't locked it.  I was home, then I remembered my bird and found it's description in Birds of Kansas Field Guide by Stan Tekiela.  The female Northern Harrier flew alone that day, and she gave me solace and the distraction that I needed.

PS.  A friend suggested I look up Cooper's Hawk.  That may be correct, but no matter which bird it was it made me smile and forget the day.  Just now noticed a male Goldfinch at the feeder, and I smiled again.  I think the creek or green belt near our house is allowing us to have such colorful and plentiful birds in our backyard, and that's a very good thing.  

1 comment:

  1. Letty, you certainly have a great way with words... you remember so many details to share...I love your story and the style in which you wrote it! Hoping for many happy days for you in Norman...{but we MISS you here in Buhler!}