The hawk photos I posted on Facebook in the wee hours of the morning got liked almost immediately by several friends, making me wonder: why are we all out of bed at a time when any normal working person ought to be sound asleep?
I'm not even entirely certain why I was awake except that it was one of those nights when I kept waking up, disturbed by nightmares, house noises, and a sudden urgent need to check on one last detail for our departmental poetry reading tomorrow night. (Note to self: notify campus police that we have a public event Friday evening so they don't automatically lock the building at 5, displacing our entire audience--and if you think that's a petty concern, you're clearly not aware of our campus building access policies.)
So for whatever reason and no reason, I kept being awake (again), so I decided to take advantage of the fact that our inconsistent internet service tends to be strongest in the wee hours. The hawk photos I couldn't post before bedtime uploaded in a snap at 2 a.m.
Now that I'm facing a day full of teaching and meetings on about four hours of uneasy, interrupted sleep, I ought to just sit and stare at those photos and remember: clear blue sky, warm still air, spring birdcalls all around and a wooded slope covered in rue anemone. I'd set out last evening to hunt for bloodroot but found none, although I saw trillium leaves just starting to peek up through the leaves and some dutchman's breeches foliage (but no blooms). I saw a pileated woodpecker fly over and heard what may have been blue-gray gnatcatchers in the woods, and I caught a fleeting glimpse of our wood duck pair flying upstream above the creek.
And then I heard the hawks, a pair of them, circling right overhead, and in a moment I was watching their big lazy loops through the camera lens click click click and I was circling with them, and I didn't stop until I realized that if I kept circling with my eyes to the skies I was going to fall dizzily, butt-first, to the gravel drive.
I look at these hawks and wonder how they can make their complicated lives appear so smooth and effortless. Surely it can't be easy being a hawk; they're probably hard at work scanning for prey up there, so it's a mistake to interpret their circling as peaceful, meditative recreation. But just once I'd like my hectic life to look more like a series of smooth, lazy loops instead of a game of Whack-A-Mole.
Just let me get through the next two days--a day of teaching and meetings and stamping out fires and a day of teaching and hosting a visiting author--and then give me a day to live like a hawk, to circle the woods looking for small things that feed my soul. Or if nothing else, let me look at the photos.