A Harris Hawk is a wonder. A light-as-air wonder. Last week I flew one, named #95, care of New England Falconry in Hadley, MA. It was a surprise planned by Matt for our anniversary. You just can't beat waking up at the crack of dawn to rush quickly toward a surprise!
As the city disappeared, the green began to roll out around us, and the blue of the Berkshires pulled from the mist, I started to soar a little. Then I saw this sign, and just about died! (Think: "a sloth is near" reaction)...
I suppose it was always a childhood dream. To touch or hold a wild thing. The morning was buggy and dove-white as a little rainstorm moved over the mountains. The green was heavy with dew and newness...
#95 was weightless.
It's hard to describe the feeling of it. Click to watch:
The bird was buoyant, hollow, intensely alive, like a little feathered orchestra, resting on you for just a moment before it was on its way. It woke me up. It was a moment for living and not describing.
Chris Davis, the falconer, lectured. Did you know raptors see in the ultra-violet spectrum?! And they can't move their eyes in their sockets, which is actually an advantage–the bird can lock its gaze on its prey, while its body moves quickly.
After breakfast at the Lone Wolf in Amherst (ah, their cheese blintzes!) I had to urge to come home, head straight for the Jean Craighead George shelf at my local library to re-read a childhood favorite, My Side of the Mountain. (I did). By eery serendipity I also bumped into The Fledgling by Jane Langton. Transcendental magic of the best sort.
It happened to be Rachel Carson's birthday that day, too. This quote made me soar all over again. It is supreme comfort, isn't it? It will always connect me back to the silent white morning, deep in the green, #95 on my wrist.
"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts."- Rachel Carson