hawk eye

Timing is everything.

On Wednesday I went running. It was a hot day, not humid, not a cloud in the sky. Perfect. The trail was fairly empty, still lush and green and mostly covered in dappled shade. As I approached my second mile, I noticed a man on a bicycle coming towards me, still quite a distance away. At the same time, I saw a flash just in front of him, a bird’s wing as it cut across the path. At first I thought it was a robin, and then, no, too big. A crow?

Only it didn’t cut across, it turned, away from him, towards me. And in an instant. as it passed through a patch of sunlight, I saw that it was actually a hawk. My bird. And it was moving straight down the path, waist high, painting flight with broad strokes of its wings. It did not waiver, or veer, or act like it was lost. It kept on, headed right in my direction, glinting gold as it passed through patches of sunshine.

I kept running, although I was mesmerized. And it kept coming, straight for me. And then, when it was about fifteen feet away, it rose up over my head and continued on down the path. I couldn’t quite have reached out and touched it, but if my arms were five feet longer, I think I could have.

And here’s the thing: I had planned to go running much earlier that day, hours earlier, in fact. But things came up, I pushed my run back, minutes went by, then hours. And in the end, it all came down to seconds. Three seconds later, and I would have missed a sight that I will never forget.

A sight that is imprinted in my mind like the memory I have of my last dog, running towards me around the corner of our house, cantering like a horse, shiny black in tall green grass. He was happy in that moment, a big doggie smile on his face. His joy was evident. Two days later he was gone, suddenly and unexpectedly, and I have always wondered if I sensed what was to come, because I almost felt my mind snap a picture, recording that moment, him, just then, just there, in that spot. Forever.

And then there is the encounter I had with a bear while camping once, she on one side of the campfire, me on the other, the three men I was with, city boys, in the water. (Yes, I told them, as they ran for it, that bears will go in the water.) But they stayed where they were, and I stayed where we had all been just seconds before, by the fire. She looked at me, trying to focus through the smoke and the flames, wagging her big head back and forth. Our eyes met and she held my gaze for one brief second, and then turned and walked away.
I can see it still, in my mind.

And now, this giant, graceful hawk, flying straight down a path towards me. Golden wings glinting on and off through sun, then shade, and sun again. The white spotted belly that I followed as he vaulted up over my head.

I’m pretty sure he plucked a feather from my soul just at that moment, when I looked up and saw him silhouetted in the sun.

Because after that, for the rest of my run,

I flew.

24 Responses to “hawk eye”

  • Tracy Says:

    Good morning… wow… What a way to start my morning. Maybe it’s because you are publishing your writing daily and it’s a function of doing and doing and doing, but your writing continues to excel. (I know, who am I?) But what I can honestly and truly say – and it’s my truth – is that repeatedly I think to myself, she just gets better and better… man. (Slight jealously, but it’s the prettiest version of the green-eyed monster, I promise.)

    You were definitely given a gift, my friend. And you have definitely flown with it.

  • Michael Douglas Jones Says:

    Yes, that too was you, behind your other eyes; you, dog, bear, hawk; no difference; all were one and you recognized yourself. Mesmerizing.

  • Quinn Says:


  • Nana Says:

    Whew, you keep on getting better and better, plucking a feather from your soul…you gave me goose bumps, how beautiful.

  • Skye Says:

    Yes, I agree w/ Michael, what an amazing & perfect, magical, affirming series of meetings! I have no doubt the natural world will arrange a few more.

  • sooz Says:

    Wow, I realized I was holding my breath while I read that!! Awesome, awesome, awesome. Those are my kinda moments. I also think only certain people really “pick up on” moments like this and snap appreciation pictures in their mind …

  • Kathryn Says:

    What a beautiful post, made me very emotional. I love it when we feel a connection to animals and have been priviledged to have a few encounters that felt special in some way.

  • Jennie Says:

    Oh, that is so beautiful! I can imagine it.

  • Kate Says:

    Beautifully written, this experience that will be forever etched in your memory.
    I think encounters with birds like this are sacred. And you, my dear, have been blessed.

  • Graciel @ Evenstar Art Says:

    of course, you described it beautifully. it’s what you do. it’s who you are.

    this is my truth: nature believes in checks and balances. it practices reciprocity by rewarding souls who care for its myriad, gorgeous forms with take-your-breath-away moments. it also doles out messages. big and bold, if you’re paying attention.

    so, of course the hawk came to you. of course, your timing was perfection. of course, you received its message: lift up your soul and fly.

    nature has a sweet spot in its heart for you.


  • beth Says:

    that hawk was a message….
    maybe for today, as in your writing….
    or maybe for years from now, meaning something completely new.

    life does that to us….questions, answers, signs….just to keep us living,

    and the rest of your run today…..oh, you were living alright !

  • Debi Says:

    I am glad I saved this for tonight, for the silence, for the last flickering of a candle before turning on the computer again.

    If you believe, they will come. They will bring you messages; they ARE the messages, and as Graciel said you received this one. This hawk knew you, and would not have wasted his or her time otherwise. They come and we reach out and touch them or not – we let them touch us.

    Beautifully written. Truthfully told.


  • MrsWhich Says:

    Amazing. Hawks are also my bird, I see them everywhere and feel comforted. I envy your encounters with nature.

  • Jennifer Says:

    Wow. What a story. And beautifully told.

  • Carrie Says:

    i’m sorry, but you are not allowed to call yourself mrs. mediocrity any more. this is simply amazing–the experiences and the writing! you are a storyteller and a wise soul. i love hearing about your encounters with animals–what a cool connection you have with them. this was a lovely read that makes me feel good inside!

  • joanna jenkins Says:

    That hawk moment was too cool for school! How exciting.
    Happy weekend, jj

  • Sally G. Says:

    Are you familiar with Animal Totems? I’m not fully versed, but am told that your animal totem holds qualities that you have within you, active or dormant – and they tend to show up (actually, or in images, songs, etc.) at key times in our lives.

    The Hawk is such a powerful and beautiful totem, here’s a link http://morningstar.netfirms.com/hawktotem.html

    And here’s a brief summary from another site: Hawk teaches us to scope out the situation and focus on our talents, trying to draw them out. Hawk learns to see the big picture in order to understand the past, present, and future. Hawk asks us to be observant of surroundings so we won’t get distracted from our path by others. It also reminds us not to get caught up in minor annoyances so we can maintain our inner balance.

    I believe my Totem is a Giraffe. I’ve yet to see one in my forays into nature – but I’m still holding hope!

  • Cristina Says:

    Love this idea, of being so inspired when the timing is “just right”. Timing is ever where we want it to be, if only we look for it, isn’t it? Inspiration is our brass ring, we just need to reach for it.

  • ELK Says:

    poetry in flight and foot!!

  • Marcie Says:

    Whimsical..magical…simply beautiful!! You’ve added a whole new dimension to running with the wind!!

  • Charissa Steyn Says:

    Beautifully captured! This is why I love running 🙂 Just found your blog today!

  • whollyjeanne Says:

    i wish i could tell one bird from another. i do, however, recognize a woodpecker when i spy one. other than that, it’s big birds and not-so-big birds and hummers. oh yes, i do recognize hummers.

  • dahlila Says:

    That’s amazing. What a memory. What a gift.
    dahlila xxoo

  • Michael Rusk Says:

    Magical images, beautiful narration – as if I was running next to you seeing it all.

    I can hear the swoosh of the wings as the hawk passes over.

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