Watching the watcher

I went out into the garden yesterday afternoon, intending to celebrate the very mild weather by resuming shredding the mounds of leaves slowly moldering outside my kitchen window.

Life, as they say, had other plans.

As I prepared to step outside, I looked out the window and saw this fellow:

broad winged hawk

Camped out on my sagging trellis, strategizing about which vole hole to attack (I hope!), was what I think is a broad-winged hawk. He stood about 12 inches tall, and calmly surveyed me with intense brown eyes.

I have seen him once before, sitting on a telephone wire above the street in front of my house. I’ve never seen him so close. He was so powerful, yet at the same time so serene, that I couldn’t bear to drag out the heavy equipment and frighten him off.

I left the house by the front door and crept around to the back to observe him. I walked slowly around the garden, keeping a respectful distance (if he had swooped at me I’d  have lost my nose, no doubt), but he let me come within about six yards of him. I spent perhaps half an hour watching him watch my garden.

broad winged hawk 2

Look at those eyes. Clearly, he’s not one to be messed with.

In my habitual rush to get things done, I so often forget to stop and breathe, to observe. Part of my reason for keeping this blog, in fact, is to make me think about my garden, to grasp its cycles and subtle changes, and to celebrate them when they occur. I think I got the message yesterday, quite loudly. What a blessing it was, frankly, to be made to sit still and simply watch. The compost will happen.

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