Tuesday, September 23, 2008

in hawk to horus

I was in a rush to get back to the house after church on Sunday. I was not feeling well. The dog was not feeling well. I just wanted to be in bed.

As I walked around the corner in our alley, I stopped dead still. Perched on the edge of my neighbor's garage was one of my dream birds: an American kestrel. Still. Small. Shimmering. Almost within my reach -- if I had dared to reach out and touch the face of Horus.

I have long been obsessed with falcons. When I was in the seventh grade, I read a tale about a boy who had captured a falcon by tying a sky-blue piece of wood smeared with glue to a leather thong attached to a pigeon. When the pigeon was released, a falcon attacked it, became entrapped in the sticky wood, and plummeted to earth. The crafty boy then captured and trained the falcon to hunt.

It was a boy's tale. Probably full of far more bluff than fact. But I was willing to try it. A friend raised pigeons. I bought one -- and that is as far as the story went. I never did get around to setting my trap. I was a dreamer, not an engineer.

The bird on the garage could have been a descendant of the falcon I never caught. I watched him. He merely looked at me with exasperation. He had a job to do. Squirrels needed catching. And I was crimping his style.

He soon tired of my idle worship and slowly lifted himself on falcon's wings -- to glide effortlessly to a Scotch pine, where he resumed his watch for an unwary squirrel, mouse, or vole.

I left reluctantly. He revived a dream. Or the memory of a dream. And, in this case, the ending in the real world was far happier.


Beth said...

One particular blue day, I was moping around the house. When I opened the front window shade, a kestrel was sitting in the front yard. I held my breath. Such a beautiful creature. I stared at him for a long while. Suddenly, he looked at me, blinked a couple of times (or maybe even winked) and flew off. Somehow my day immediately improved. I often think about that experience and am reminded of Isaiah 40:31 "but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. The will soar on wings like eagles..."

Steve Cotton said...

Beth -- Great tale. There is something amazing about kestrels. Of course, if my story had taken its ususual turn, there would have been squirrel sandwiches. Alsa, no such mayhem.

glorv1 said...

You seem to be doing a lot of thoughtful thinking lately, could it be that a lttle sadness is setting in as the time draws closer to letting your home go? I wish you well.

Steve Cotton said...

Gloria -- This was actually a very happy memory. If I went mining in the shaft of teeming horrors, my readership would slip quietly away -- avoiding all eye contact.