We were both motionless, riveted in our mutual focused gaze.
Neither of us blinked – we just stared.
For what was probably only thirty seconds, I watched and was watched – so close I could reach out and touch, but I was frozen, I wouldn’t imagine spoiling those moments.
I often encounter deer or a coyote on morning walks, and some gophers don’t scurry, but this was a truly unique encounter like you seen on PBS in a nature film, but it was happening to me.
On morning walks, and in so many other things, I have a tendency to be head-down/butt-up in terms of focus on a task, often not noticing what is happening nearby or off to one side. Something happened yesterday that has never occurred for me before – and might never again.
Any movement would have ended our encounter, so my phone/camera remained in my pocket.
On that fence support pipe, eyes leveled, arm’s length from me, magnificent creature. There, as still as if frozen in a picture, 100% wild – there we were, eye-to-eye, so close, yet a foreign-feeling experience for me, perhaps for both.
That hawk startled me, and I startled the hawk.
Image imprinted in my mind, I’ve never been that close to any wild animal, and I’m sure that hawk had never been that close to a human. Size, plumage, and focused presence of that bird was palpable.
And hawk watched me, both oblivious to anything else, ignoring traffic and noise. It was a spectacular way to start the day, start my walk, and to make me more conscious of things in my peripheral vision.
I see hawks often flying or perched – near my home. Osprey too, because it’s a good hunting area here – plenty of rabbits and gophers, so close to Fish Creek Park where wildlife is abundant, and bird watchers are plentiful with good reason.
Then it was gone – taken wing, rounded the corner, off to kill its breakfast. When I returned from my walk, I went searching for hawk photos. It seems my hawk was a Red-Tailed Hawk.
Have you spotted something that made you stop in your tracks – and for a moment, think of nothing but the beautiful creature in front of you?
I had no one to tell – which was disappointing and yet fortunate/fantastic because the moment played over and over in my mind with no requirement to give anyone a play-by-play description.
Maybe we all need to spot a hawk, either real or metaphorical – and pause a bit, admire what we would have otherwise missed entirely, and then move along.
I’ll never walk past that spot again without slowing down, without looking.