Lucky for me, as a writer, every moment is potentially THE moment.
I can justify ALL of this under the job description of writer. Writers need ideas and as long as I’m seeking those allusive ideas then I am working.
I often stare at the telephone poles just outside my window…
I could digress here and tell you the story of how I had dirt delivered to my house one day, the dump truck driver forgot to lower the “bucket” and almost pulled down every one of the telephone poles on my street and how I yelled and yelled for him to stop and when he did — I had to tell him how to get untangled from the mess he made and how when the driver finally extricated the truck — he simply drove off and left me with the issue… but I won’t because they doesn’t have anything to do with The Girl, The Hawk, And The Snake. BUT it is proof that one can get an idea for a story any where.
It is a fact, that birds love to perch atop light poles and telephone poles.
Squirrels also love to do this and to run along the telephone wires. I could digress here and tell you that — yes — squirrels do sometimes fall from their graceful tightrope walk along the wires and when they finish falling from such a great height they do bounce and then turn and look around to see if anyone is watching — just as a person does when they trip on something BUT I won’t because it doesn’t have anything to do with The Girl, The Hawk, and The Snake… BUT a story idea — maybe?
During the summer — following the summer of The Boy, The Sparrow, and The Spider, a particular hawk hung out on the telephone pole nearest my house on a daily basis. I loved this hawk for many reasons:
its beauty and grace
it studied me whilst I studied him
he would leap from the pole and plummet to the ground and at the last moment talons out would grasp a snake or mouse and then with wings unfurled he would graceful ascend higher and higher as he flew to the far woods to dine upon his lunch thereby reducing the chances that I would step upon another snake in my yard in my stockinged feet.
And then one day,
Not intending to gather any story ideas,
I hung my laundry on the clothes line and IT happened…
The hawk leaped from the pole and plummeted to the ground and at the last moment talons out grasped a snake,
not a scrawny snake-like this one but one with a breadth and width that I had not imagined lived in the meadows surrounding my yard.
At first I was pleased.
It was exciting to watch the poetic grace of the hawk and although I do not support the death penalty this was part of the circle of life,
after the time when I was building my home and a snake made its way into my basement and up the ladder from the basement to the first floor and was coiled around the top rung and I thought my construction crew had left a rope tied there and I reached out to remove the rope — it moved its head and I screamed like a girl.
I have to admit I was pleased the hawk was the victor in today’s circle of life eat-or-be-eaten event.
The hawk did not
fly over to the far trees as it had every other meal time.
The hawk flew over to my clothes poles where I stood with my clean laundry.
Its going to land in the tree
No seriously, it’s going to land on the clothes pole and rip apart that snake and snake guts are going to cling to my clean clothes
The bird is coming straight toward me.
That stupid bird is going to dump that snake on my head.
I grabbed a bath towel off the line and held it over my head. The hawk kept coming at me and I started to run in a zig-zag pattern.
It can’t really be chasing me?!
I kept zigging and zagging around my yard with the towel over my head and the bird with the huge snake coiled in its talons kept ziggng and zagging with me.
UNTIL I REALIZED
The hawk was having a full-on-ego moment. This was a pride thing. This wasn’t just the biggest snake I had ever seen in the field. It was obviously a matter of pride for the hawk that it was the biggest it had ever caught.
Just as I had applauded my son’s first soccer goal
My students’ progress on tests
A friend’s fancy new car
The hawk wanted me to admire his hunting prowess — his trophy. Apparently as we studied each other through the glass of my study window, we had dropped the barrier of strangers and silently entered into a friendship that like any true friendship expects one friend to applaud the other friend’s successes even if one would never want to accomplish that feat our selves.
And so I stopped and looked up and congratulated my new friend…
and then I ran in the house in case he changed his mind and dumped the snake on my head.