Friday, February 15, 2019

Inhaling and Exhaling

My eyes are always seeking the raffle of turkeys along a tree line, the doe and her fawns gleaning corn in a harvested field, or skeins of geese moving from nesting to feeding, or back. My eyes will find the solitary red-tailed hawk hunting from its perch on a tree branch or a power line or a fence pole. I’m rarely at the right place at the right time to see the hawk’s patience pay off.

Today I had lunch with an outdoor writer whose work I’ve been admiring for a while now. We talked about the grace of being on a mountain or in a field or on the water, where the taking of game isn’t as important as who you’re with. Not as
important as being on a landscape of a scale that reminds you of your proper relationship to it. You are not its master nor a tenant nor are you a passerby. If you give yourself enough time there, away from the small screens and the petty bickerings, you can begin to remember that you are of the earth, that we all are. Thanks for lunch, John Martino. 

I went to visit the graves of our grandfather and grandmother. It’s odd to see your own name on a stone, with the understanding of soon enough. Sensing that the time we have here is only the length of a breath. 

1907: inhale.
1980: exhale.

I took a step toward a story I’ve been avoiding. And I had a Valentine’s dinner with my wife. 

Of today’s hawks, I saw two whose patience had paid off. One, diving to earth, banking and flaring at the last moment to drive talons-first into the tall grass. A second, minutes later, crossing my path and gliding to a treetop with its prey dangling beneath it. Each had grabbed the sustenance that would carry it to the next day. 

As had I.

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