Chugging up long hill road on my bike, there is, across the pasture, a medium sized bird on a mound. What is it? The bird pecks and pauses, pecks and pauses. From the distance it is hard to tell the details, the beak, the tail, so I watch. The bird keeps it’s pace, pecking, pausing for a bunch of seconds, and then pecking again. It may be a hawk but I want to know for sure, so I put my impatience aside and watch. After 10 minutes, a quick strike, and the bird is in flight, food in its mouth, as it flies directly by me on it’s way up. I felt heartened by the hawk. The hawk was practicing patience and it paid off.
I’ve seen a lot of hawks lately, mostly flying across the road in front of me. This, after a drought of what seemed like years where I never saw a hawk. Maybe, my mind wasn’t right for hawks. I always felt encouraged by the hawks, the power and freedom of their flight. One can try to put meaning into these events, but the meaning is the feeling, the energy one gets from it.
One time while I was lying a hammock, a flock of crows flew over, whoosh, in a flash of raucous black. Later talking to a shaman about the meaning of the event, she said just because we feel something after some natural event doesn’t mean it has “meaning.”
It means what we feel. We often feel inspired or awed by the world around us, and we look for meaning in it. But the meaning is the event—to explain it too much takes away from the power. The natural world is always talking to us and we are not only part of the conversation. We are the conversation.
And today on my walk I picked up a feather. I’d like to think it is hawk.