Sometimes you find yourself sitting at the keyboard, fingers poised at the corner of asdf and jkl; waiting for an idea that never comes. Other times, like today, inspiration flies in through the front door. Here's the story.
Even though we have no screen doors, we tend to leave our front and back doors wide open during the afternoon and evenings to take advantage of the breeze that comes up around that time. The obvious drawback is that small irritations like june bugs and Japanese beetles sometimes find their way in. Today was different. Today a hawk came through the door.
Leslie was working at the computer and the kids and I were lounging on the couch watching TV when we were suddenly pulled from our trances by the sound of frantically flapping wings. We've had an occasional bird blunder in from the patio before, but this was something completely different. A hawk had chased its prey (a mourning dove) into our home, feathers were swirling everywhere, and my children and wife were shrieking and cowering in various corners of the room.
The hawk realized immediately that it had followed its prey too far. Searching for an escape route, he began circling the living room, sending Leslie and the kids scrambling to the safety of a nearby bathroom. Our ceilings are the standard eight feet off the ground, so our guest's talons were inches from the top of my head as he tried in vain to find a way out. It's amazing how quickly thoughts can run through your head at a time like this. As cool as the whole thing was -- and trust me, it was pretty cool -- I couldn't help but wonder what would happen if this bird of prey became scared enough to turn his talons and beak on me.
Thankfully he tired out fairly quickly and settled into a corner against the sliding glass patio door. As I bent over to gather him in a towel, I noticed that he was clearly more frightened than any of us. His beak was open and pressed against the door, leaving a small triangle of steam that grew and shrank in time to his heaving breaths. He struggled only briefly after I picked him up, but quickly relaxed and turned his head a hundred and eighty degrees to look me square in the eye. He was absolutely magnificent. I walked out into the backyard and gently tossed him into the afternoon breeze; even before he was out of sight I found myself wishing for him to come back. Perhaps tomorrow.
Here's some video of the catch and release. Please excuse the brief appearance of my ass.