There’s fine stuff up there that I see and I wish I could snap with my Canon EOS, but it’s all moving so fast. I try to get a focus and blink! Gone. Maybe in my next life I’ll get to be a photographer and figure out how to capture an image of perfect form and function, on the move.
Hannibal and the missus have at least one juvenile out of the nest today, learning to do those things that hawks do. This morning it was aerial acrobatics. Straight high speed streaks from tree to tree, landing on the very best branches for preening, resting, scoping out the next meal. Diving and soaring from one level to the next, offspring close on the tail of parent. Loop de loops that look for all the world like just plain joie de vivre. Seriously,it does make my heart beat faster to see the grace and compact beauty of these raptors. Then, after a midday rest, they were back out and Hannibal demonstrated the fine art of snatching a finch in mid-flight while his heir apparent watched from a high branch just beyond the nest.
These Coopers Hawks remind me of a poem by James Dickey, The Heaven of Animals.* Not that Hannibal and his family appear to be headed for Heaven any time soon, although you never know. It’s just that the poem explains heaven to me in a way that make sense and defines the very essence of these birds. In the poem, these creatures of the earth are simple, not confounded by things like souls in need of salvation. And they get to go to a heaven where they are more purely and simply what they are, in a most perfect way. There’s joy for them in that heaven.
Then there’s all that stuff up there I can’t see, forget about taking a picture.
My dearest friend just buried her 13 month old grandson after he died from complications of a congenital heart defect. He left behind two young sisters who would like to know exactly what and where this Heaven is all about. They are 5 and 3 and I think the 5 year old is just old enough to be suspect of something that sounds both like a fairy tale and incomprehensible to a lot of the grown-ups around her.
At what age are you the right age to make a giant leap of faith? Because that’s what this bit about Heaven takes, right? A huge step. Bigger than a man on the moon step. I guess it’s pretty individual and some people make that leap without much question while others wrestle with it for years and years. I know there are lots of times I’m thinking hmmm, this makes no rational sense whatsoever. Which is, I suspect, the whole point of believing. Right now, I’m thinking this tiny boy, who went through so much to live and gave joy to so many, is in the Heaven of Babies, which must also be a place that is simple
and pure and uncomplicated. You get to be a perfect baby with a whole
heart, held in loving arms forever.
I’m sad for my friend and her family, more than I can say. I wish I was back in Michigan right now for two reasons: to be close to her in the days and weeks to come and also, I’m missing the best season. The season where you can witness miracles, whether you are a birder, a botanist, a biologist, even a goofy and/or serious Lutheran. You can see these miracles unfold overnight and your heart leaps about with Spring fever as you hum, “Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome, please don’t take my Kodachrome awaaay!” There’s a reason all these days of magic and bloom and resurrection and rebirth are crammed into Springtime, you know. It’s the Leap of Faith season, when it’s easier to take that one giant step. Mother, may I? Yes, you may!
No pictures for you today, despite the beautiful things I’ve seen. There are lots of little miracles pictured about the blog neighborhood right now; the place is awash with the most amazing images. Laura had a photo of a star magnolia bud that defies description, except that she managed to do that as well. Lots of avian friends, both in and out of nests, a blush of pansies, an out of focus bunny come to visit, a bumble bee bum that made me laugh out loud. In April, I will be hosting Good Planets on two Saturdays so my mailbox will be full of beauty in addition to hoodia and junk stock offers. Lucky me. Lucky us. Just Lift Up Your Eyes.
*Here they are. The soft eyes open.
If they have lived in a wood
It is a wood.
If they have lived on plains it is grass rolling
Under their feet forever.
Having no souls, they have come,
Anyway, beyond their knowing.
Their instincts wholly bloom
And they rise.
The soft eyes open.
To match them, the landscape flowers,
Outdoing what is required:
The richest wood,
The deepest field.
For some of these, it could not be the place
It is, without blood.
These hunt, as they have done,
But with claws and teeth grown perfect,
More deadly than they can believe.
They stalk more silently,
And crouch on the limbs of trees,
And their descent
Upon the bright backs of their prey
May take years
In a sovereign floating of joy.
And those that are hunted
Know this as their life,
Their reward: to walk
Under such trees in full knowledge
Of what is in glory above them,
And to feel no fear,
But acceptance, compliance.
Fulfilling themselves without pain
At the cycle’s center,
They tremble, they walk
Under the tree,
They fall, they are torn,
They rise, they walk again.