Saturday, March 26, 2011

Random Acts of Wildness

At the heart of enjoying nature is a readiness to see the unexpected, the random.  As we were speeding down the highway on our way home from the hospital on Friday we saw an accipiter hawk eight feet from our car, probably a male Cooper's Hawk or maybe a Sharp-Shinned hawk.  It was diving and jerking towards the grassy shoulder in a strong wind, hunting for its dinner.

There is something sacred about these encounters.  They are certainly unexpected and undeserved.  They leave me with a sense of joy, of wonder and a kind of satisfaction.  They are frequent enough to keep me going.  I settle in and keep myself aware, watching, waiting.

A few years ago I remember driving the 2 hour drive to Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge one winter's day to see eagles.  Upon my return later that day I watched an eagle flying along Missouri River near Downtown, Kansas City.  I was in awe. I didn't have to go so far to see eagles, I just had to be patient.

I am constantly surprised by the citied wilderness I live in.  Last fall I watched flight after flight of common nighthawks soaring southward over my apartment.  Or, the time several years ago that an exuberant flock of cedar waxwings visited a cherry tree near my apartment in late winter, picking it clean on their way north.

I am blessed by these visitations.  They are epiphanies of the persistence of life, of the cycle of all things.

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