A Great Silence Descends
A nice September morning, mostly clear skies dotted with brief showers, drops clinging to leaves before making their way earthward. Birds busy and chittering at the birdbath and feeder, chipmunks darting about beneath, shouting at each other in their squeaky little way.
The lawn looks odd without its transient accoutrement. Breezes sound unnaturally loud as they rustle through the leaves, and the raindrops fall with a noticeable plop.
A moment later I see him. A large red-tailed hawk, perched nonchalantly on the highest feeder, calmly surveying the terrain. He looks regal as an eagle. I take a few photos through the window and edge out onto the screened porch. He keeps his pose, but I suspect a slight movement, suggesting he is taking me into account. I slowly open the door and he just as slowly rises with a push of wings, and flies onto a nearby utility wire, from where he openly studies me, then resumes his pose.
I take another picture, he lowers his head a notch, takes a quick shit that reeks of disdain, and flies off into a copse of trees. The lawn and feeders stay deserted for a good 20 minutes longer, until the first small birds flitter back, the chipmunk edges out of the flower bed, the first squirrel makes a first foray.
Ten minutes later all is back to the usual. But now I know what they know -- that there is always someone watching from somewhere, and it's best to be on guard.
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