food and sundries

Hawk Eye

Filed under: Uncategorized — February 6, 2013 @ 6:15 pm

Gold, cream, tawny and crimson. Blood and feathers.

The small heap at the side of the freeway had been a living creature. As the soft down that once kept it warm riffled in the breeze of the traffic that passed its now cold body and stilled heart, my own heart wailed. Another one of my hawks had fallen to the unending torrent of traffic that was the north-south interstate, at least the third I’d seen this year alone.

I call them “my” hawks because I have an uncanny knack for spotting them—perching confidently in the trees along the interstate, sitting stiller than stone in the grassy median awaiting an unwary rodent, hopping along the roadside in diligent exploration.

I adore them—their regal stature, their tenacity, their stately beauty.

Red-tailed hawks are not endangered. I travel fifteen miles along the graying tar of my stretch of freeway twice every weekday, sometimes seeing up to four hawks one-way. The long, broad roadway, with its wide and grassy median, is a favored hunting ground: open and inviting, beckoning with easy-to-see prey.

Over time, I’ve seen so many valiant raptors felled by the drive of their instinctual hunt, unaware that their survivalist’s chase could easily put them in direct line for that most sociopathic of killers: the man-made vehicle—a slayer so cold and hard that it leaves its victims to perish where they fall, never looking back, never picking up the pieces.

No, as a group, these hawks are not endangered. But, individually, my hawks are imperiled. And I mourn for those lost and the losses that are certain to come.

Keep an eye out. You do not travel alone.

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