They were still there today. But tomorrow, or soon, the trio of young hawks will leave the nest for good. I watched them this morning, one awkwardly trying to get situated in the nest that it’s clearly outgrown, and a sibling walking up a big branch from the side to check out the comical maneuvering. The third hawk was sounding off from a nearby tree, it’s call something like a bluejay on steroids. I didn’t see the parents.
I can’t tell the youngsters apart. The one I last week spent twenty minutes watching as he watched me, and moved twice to branches closer to me, I named Gabriel. I didn’t know who was which this morning.
But. I’m going to say that it was Gabriel who gave me the prize I’ve been waiting for. Tonight as the sun was setting and twilight was stretching shadows across the grassy slope down to Waterhole Brank, my little dog Bobby and I headed back up the hill from the boathouse. Bobby saw it first and went straight to it. It was his interest in something on the ground that got my attention. I worry about a run-in with a moccasin.
I quick-stepped in his direction, calling his name. He ran to me, bright-eyed, tail wagging. And then I saw what he’d spied in the grass. A feather. A wing feather from one of the hawks. From Gabriel. It’s gotta be him that would leave a parting gift for me, some strong hawk medicine for his pal.
I’ve got talismans all around the cabin, and on my desk. Even on my hundred-year old typewriter there’s an ivory carving of St. Francis, and an ebony figure of a heron. At the base of my lamp there’s a bear claw and some rusty nails and a sliver of driftwood
That’s where I laid the feather. For now. Until I decide how I’m going to display it. I’ve got a couple of ideas. Likely with an inscription that reads The Gabriel Feather.
Somebody’ll see it and read Gabriel’s name and ask me with a smirk, “So, like, you mean the angel, from his wing?”
And I’ll say, No. (At least I don’t think so. But, hey, that Gabriel could show up as anything.) I’ll say the feather is from a hawk friend, who is the patron spirit of the literary and musical arts coming from Resurrection stage, and who grew up directly overhead.
I know! I’ll get an old ink bottle and rest the pretty brown and white feather upright in the bottle like a writing quill. And wait for inspiration from a dream story about a Red-shoulder hawk and a black and white squirrel dog who buddy-up and get into some high drama on a creek called Waterhole Branch.
Watch this space!