Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What I Saw on the Drive Home

The valley between the sloping hills stretched and wound around with the creek.  The brittle golden fields met the rocky hills, where rows of avocado groves clung to the rocky sides.  The wind rustled the leaves, birds circled in the sky, and creatures scurried about their lives.  I looked out across the valley and to the mountains beyond.

courtesy of
The birds, I remember the birds the most.  The big turkey buzzards cruised on the rising air currents, with their black wings tips furled out.  Around and around, searching for carrion—they hardly seemed to move.  Desperate songbirds stayed close to earth, darting from tree to tree.  Had to get out of sight, get to the next branch.  The black crows sang that annoying song of theirs.  How could any bird be so annoying and yet so beautiful with their glossy feathers, all at the same time?

A red tailed hawk’s cry sliced through the quiet.  Up high, he had been riding the waves of air, but his predator’s eyes remained earth bound.  He folded his wings in, tucked his head down, and dove out of the sky.  It was so fast, so incredibly fast. 
Hawk in flight

He went out of sight, behind an outcropping of rock and manzanita.  In the space of one breath, the hawk rose into the air, a furry rodent in his talons.  Did I really see that happen?  I watched the red tailed hawk recede into the distance, until he was gone.  If I had blinked, I would have missed that display of such beauty and such power.


  1. The turkey buzzards are graceful from a distance, unbelievably ugly up close.

  2. I have a huge soft spot for raptors. On my 50th birthday I spent a day with hawks, falcons and a golden eagle called Sampson. I have loads of photos from that day, several of which show Sampson on my arm or swooping down on me. Terrifying and awesome. I'll never forget that day.

  3. So beautiful to watch these mighty winged creatures fly with such grace like sails on the wind. Wonderful post.

  4. I LOVE birds they are sooo amazing :) I could totally picture this as I read it ;)

  5. I love your description here. It brought vivid images even without the photo's which were also amazing. Thanks for sharing.


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