WATCHING THE WATCHER WATCHING
My friend Cheryl and I drove slowly down Belle Road when I saw a small movement on the hill to my left, in a snow-covered cornfield. Stopping the car I drew Cheryl’s attention to the creature and we realized we were on eye level with a young hawk.
He just stood in that field watching us curiously as we began taking photographs of him in the dim light. We were amazed at how unafraid he seemed to be, but became further astounded, and then, worried as he began walking through the field of snow towards us! After getting another 20 or so feet closer he stopped and observed us from this closer vantage point. I thought he was injured and unable to fly, and wondered who we should call to come rescue this bird before the advancing night swallowed him, leaving him vulnerable to predators.
Cheryl thought she might leave the car and be able to either see what his injury was if she got closer, (if indeed he was injured) or provoke him into flight and get some interesting shots as he flew. Well, surprise on us. He saw Cheryl come across the road towards him as she was shooting and he took a few more steps towards her then stayed right there, almost posing, but actually seeming to be profoundly curious as to exactly what on earth we two creatures were doing. You could almost see the little wheels of wonder turning in his head.
I kept thinking, "Now, now he is going to fly away surely," alternating with the troubling thought, "or is he badly injured and asking for our help?"
The hawk and Cheryl must have spent nearly five minutes observing one another (as I observed the two of them!) until a car turned up the road. As soon as the hawk heard the advancing engine he gave a mighty lift and took off, leaving me with two blurry shots of his healthy, beautiful body in flight. He did not go far but just to the corner, from whence that car had come, where he alighted in a tree.
Cheryl returned to the car all smiles, exuberant from her little hawk accord and we decided to drive on down the road to the tree to see if the hawk was still there.
In the growing dusk he was sitting outlined on the tree branch with all of the other branches surrounding him like delicate lace. He was perfectly camouflaged. He and the tree were so perfectly matched in color and markings they were as one. As we came abreast of him we realized had been waiting for us! And there he sat, alternately keeping his eye on us as he scanning around the area, perhaps looking for his dinner. We took more shots of him.
We stayed there at least another three or four minutes until we realized he was out-waiting us and would probably stay there, unafraid, for as long as there was light by which we could all see one another! Cheryl and I decided we should drive on, worried his concentration on us might cost him his dinner, or his safety.
Over the years in this Valley I have been watched by all variety of wild critters, I have also been attentively ignored by many other wild critters, but I have never had a wild critter so willingly, so comfortably just invite me into his existence for a great length of time and seem to mutually enjoy the encounter along with me. I continually marvel at the lovely, unique events I experience in my travels throughout our beautiful part of the country. They are all just amazing gifts and I am so blessed.
These gifts are made all the more wonderful when I have a friend along to share them. Barring that, the next best thing is being able to share all of this with you who read our blog. Thank you for seeking us out. Thank you for all of your kind comments. Thank you for letting me share my world with you. It is a beautiful place.-June Mohan
Photos: (Copyright Mohan 2006) To contact the artist, please send email to: email@example.com.