I was sitting at my desk, gazing out the window at a winter scene with gently drifting snow. All of a sudden, a hawk swooped into a bush in the yard, very nearly getting one of the songbirds. I often watch the chickadees, cardinals, sparrows, nuthatches and juncos pick at the orange berries of the firebushes about six feet away from the house. It provides a visual “white noise” for my thinking process, letting my mind drift as I observe them socializing and interacting, hopping from branch to branch, taking care of bird business in what seems to be a safe haven of intertwining sticks and twigs.
I must have been watching them for a little while this time, because I wasn’t really concentrating on them anymore. I was just looking in that direction, thinking about something else entirely, when a dark projectile hit the bush, sending the birds in a panicked scatter. It came out of the corner of my eye, and for a moment I got mad, thinking someone had thrown something at the bush. Then the thing started struggling and unfolded its wings to get out of the dense brush. It flew off, empty-beaked and disgruntled, leaving both me and the littler birds stunned.
It seems it’s been the kind of week in which the concept of mortality just cannot be ignored.