Thunder rumbled heavily through the humid air and the land felt the cooling relief of towering cloud shadows, the kind that only come with late summer storms. Sitting beneath swaying green-branched cedar trees talking with my dear sisters, I felt the wind and my heart pick up as we laughed and reminisced easily about bygone adventures and travails. Perched above, a long time resident of this bit of earth which my husband and I temporarily call home, a red-tail hawk elder had noticed my arrival and had come to join in the conversation with her own soft, clucking chatter. Thus far, she remained unnoticed by the pesky black-feathered crows that seemed to love tormenting her.
The hawk had lived here for a little over two decades now. She had been part of this particular landscape and community years prior to when I myself had arrived. She had known and trusted the man (now my husband) long before I was even aware that he or she existed. This wise, wild being had flown with him through his most precious experiences as well as his most difficult years, giving comfort in her far ranging freedom, fierce beauty, and her constant presence in a world of shifts and change. And, likewise, the hawk had trusted this lanky, unlikely, golden haired man-being to protect the forests, creatures and land where she hunted and nested. Once he had even witnessed her sacred, aerial mating dance as she tumbled gracefully into eternity with the fiery male whom she had chosen to share her life and spirit.
The mate was long dead now, and most of the land sold off for a price much too high. But still the beautiful lady hawk came to warn of intruders as well as just to chat with old friends in the twilight of her long life. She seemed to know that her enduring human companion and fellow steward was soon leaving for good, passing away into the beckoning arms of another land and skyscape never to return. Others would come and stay here, but they would likely never notice the old queen of the air as she watched them with knowing golden eyes from hidden perch or spiraling flight path. She would never have the same bond with a human again, but that was alright. She had lived a long, good life and no doubt would soon be going away herself . . . called by the Great Spirit to soar the limitless updrafts of other realms and skies, far beyond the reach of cold, hunger, greed and mistrust.
Times come and go, the old giving way to the new . . .the mysterious cycles and transformative rhythms of life carry us all across the ages . . . a fierce, wild bird soaring the currents, outstretched wings brushing the earth, reflection mirrored in glistening ripples on the endless, rolling swells of creations great cosmic sea.
Yes, times have changed and we here in our own small world and way are busy cleaning up the last of a lifetimes worth of residues and memories in preparation for a brand new life and the living of it. Farewell precious land, farewell trees and flowers, waterways and starry sky-dome above, our time here is up now. Much honoring to you all, and gracious appreciation for everything that you have shared and given. Goodbye fellow creatures of the land, deer and foxes, voles and otters, wolves and eagles, as well as all the tiny ones of pond, earth and air. Sincerest farewell to each . . . especially, one divine, and extraordinarily beautiful, red-tailed Lady Hawk . . . . . .
Peace and Blessings,
May you each prosper in love, gratitude and new beginnings,
Post Script 8/20 - Today, watched in wonder as our fierce, lovely hawk friend flew low past the barn and firmly, but peacefully escorted a mature white eagle out of her territory. She followed the larger bird across the small strip of forest at the edge of our property, making certain that the trespassing eagle was well on its way before banking sharply against the erratic currents of a stiff northwest wind and returning home.