About a Hawk

Maybe because I read Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos a few weeks ago, maybe because I taught Tim Flannery’s Weather-Makers around the same time.  Maybe because I wanted to watch the sky, let myself go blank, having finished a long review of an old friend’s book that dredged up every emotional extremity and intellectual idiocy of the last 35 years.

I went outside with a beer–I have a balcony–to look at the blue sky, but instead of the nothing I wanted, I saw a hawk.  At first I thought it was a burnt scrap of paper rising aimlessly on today’s hot wind, it was that high, and then I realized this thing had wings and was moving in a deliberate pattern, ever higher in a smaller circle.

I watched it for five minutes.  Its wings never moved, but it kept flying, soaring higher and higher, until I thought it disappeared into the plump white cloud that had coasted into its tightening orbit.

This creature doesn’t need to soar, I thought, it wants to.  It has consciousness or sentience.  The whole world is seething with the purpose that comes with this gift.










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One response to “About a Hawk

  1. Paul

    Contemplative and much appreciated reflection, Jim. I see hawks and bald eagles out here, sometimes photograph them, sometimes just watch them ride the updrafts or perch in a tree, one eye on the sky, another for fish.

    Just finished reading “Faithful Ruslan,” long circulated in samizdat, and now in translation. The author (pseudonym), Georgi Vladimov. Story of a guard dog set loose after Khrushchev dismantled the gulag. From the dog’s point of view. Tragic and yet a humane irony abounds.

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