Raptor Rapture

puffed up

This morn, I spied a rapturous, red-tailed hawk,
She spied me back, inviting me to gawk,
Instinctive, sensing I was party to her play,
Of stalking stealth, and seizing rodent prey.

As fresh-fall snow lay soft and fluffy white,
Full-cloaked the yard, clear backdrop for her flight,
Where ‘Lady Red-tail’ snatched her careless catch,
As I stood witness to the scene unmatched.

Withdrawing, then, to frozen dogwood lean,
She preened and seemed to comb her plumage clean,
Sudden stopping,  stared into my room,
Peering through my sunlight-filter zoom.staring

I dared not move lest pierce this freeze-framed time,
And I’d be robbed of nature’s scene sublime,
We shared this moment, wild and winged she,
And ordinary human, awestruck me.

I stared, enraptured by the raptor’s reach,
Regal, broad-span wings; she swooped and soared, then breached
through icy branch to unseen, thermal streams,
Taking flight, with “keeeer” her triumph scream.

soaring

**********

If it’s Monday, it must be snowing in New Jersey!

Though  traffic reports warned of black-iced roadways and slick walks, I stopped by my bedroom window, to gaze out onto my yard.  A clean, fresh blanket of snow-covered the expanse, and despite wind-tossed  feeders and frozen bird-baths, I had to smile at the beauty of this morning.  It was truly peaceful and serene, as the falling snow erased the icy masses and footprint roadmaps that had been etched on the landscape.  It was lovely.

Suddenly the pure white vista was interrupted by a massive, impressive, winged creature wrestling something on the ground. It was too far away for me to see and too late to help the careless rodent caught in the talons of this beauty, but I was mesmerized by the scene unfolding before my eyes.  As the snowflakes became larger (a sure sign that soon the precipitation would stop), the hawk, finished her snack and took perch on a snow-covered branch of the dormant dogwood.  She rested there just long enough for me to grab my camera and start shooting.  

Through my zoom lens I identified her as a red-tailed hawk.  I almost felt guilt as I watched her complete her ritual raking and cleaning of her plumage, until she seemed to stop and stare back at me.  It was as if she instinctively knew she was being watched.  I knew that she knew I was there – watching.   We locked eyes through my camera lens!  

In a moment, the fleeting moment of our communion passed and she abandoned her perch; soaring low out over the expanse of glistening snow-scape, swooping gracefully.  At first she dipped low,  close to the surface of the snow, then rose in a steep arc, ascending skyward, before she slipped from my sight.  

As I write this piece, with the afternoon sun shining through the window of my office, a shadow sweeps across my face.  I know it is she, searching for another thermal to ride in her quest for sustenance.

Hence, the inspiration for my poem and the attached photographs.

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