This morning Ken and I took Duncan for a walk before the sun had climbed too far up the sky, when the shadows were still long in The Run and the heat of the day was still sleepy-eyed and bleary and too lazy to get out of bed. The mowers had come through ahead of us so the air was fresh with the scent of their work and the moist clippings clung to our shoes and Duncan's soft feet. We took turns telling each other about our adventures over the past week while he's been gone, and although his tale of the Nebraska tornado he'd miraculously survived yesterday while driving back to Denver from Michigan was quite a bit more dramatic than mine, he was still excited to hear about the hawkling Roo and I rescued on Sunday. As we moved down The Run I pointed out the various places where our adventure unfolded, from the grassy spot where Duncan first found him to the last place I'd seen him duck for refuge. Duncan plodded ahead, sniffing here and there along the dark shadowed bases of the shrubs and at the fence line where our hawkling had vanished.
On our way back home I heard the call of the kestrels from up high. We stopped and I pointed out the tall shapes of both the mother and father perched on the tallest gable of the apartment building. They looked down at us and called again and a swift shape plunged from another corner of the roof, swept right over my head causing me to duck and came to a soft landing clinging to the brick on the side of the building, not five feet above Duncan's head. Roo jogged forward, his tail tall and dancing, and stopped as the familiar face with its big round eyes swiveled in our direction.
"There he is!" I cried and hurried forward, Ken following behind.
The hawkling barked at us, scooched across the brick, looking down at Duncan as his parents took flight and circled over us, their voices loud and clear in the morning. Our bird looked on a moment longer then leaned forward, unfolded its wings and swept down right over Duncan, across the distance between us straight toward me, then veered effortlessly up just as I moved out of the way. I watched his eyes––looked right into them––saw the delight in them at his newfound ability to fly so gracefully and bravely, watched him alight in a young aspen and take cover among its branches to call back at us with a voice that was vibrant and strong.
He was magnificent and I can rest easy knowing he is safe and healthy, that with a little help from those of us bound to the ground he has conquered gravity and will spend his days casting a glorious shadow as he passes overhead.
Sometimes Nature has a way of thanking us for passing through her realm, walking her paths and tending to her charges by simply reminding us how remarkable she––and we––can be. I know in my heart it will be a joyous summer for my eyes and ears will be trained on the skies and all the possibility that resides there.