Saturday, October 18, 2008

Urban nature adventure

Yesterday when I was driving back to work from my lunch break, something caught my eye off to the left of the car. I turned to look, and was amazed to see a red-tailed hawk flying along beside me. Right in the middle of town, on a well-traveled and thoroughly mundane residential road! Seriously, if my window had been open, I could reached out and touched his wing.

Completely enthralled, I continued down the road as this huge bird tracked along the road next to me. Because the hawk and I were traveling at roughly the same speed (probably around 15 m.p.h. by the time I slowed to watch him), it was almost as if he was flying in place, and I could really watch his powerful wings beating the air just outside my driver's-side window.

We traveled in tandem for just about fifteen seconds before the hawk zoomed ahead of me, headed for a tree in the parkway on the left side of the street--and then I saw what he was headed for. A squirrel was poised on the trunk of the tree, flicking its tail, seemingly oblivious to the predator closing in.

Thwack! The hawk made his move, but didn't quite manage to grasp the squirrel in his great talons. The squirrel jumped about three feet (I assume in mighty terror and surprise) straight out from the tree trunk before dropping to the ground and bounding away, and the hawk noiselessly drifted across the roadway ahead of me and swooped up to light on a telephone pole just off to my right. I half expected the hawk to turn his head and start licking himself, the way my cats do when they've pounced on something and not successfully captured it.

I've been so consumed with my To Do lists and activities and worries and tasks lately, it was a treat to connect with nature in such a visceral and unexpected way. It was a much-needed spiritual refresher, and a healthy reminder to appreciate the simple, real things in life--like hunger, and the narrow escape.

1 comment:

Kava Kid said...

Wow! How unexpected and cool. It's like you ended up IN the opening sequence of the old-school Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom where the bobcat was chasing the rabbit through the snow.