Morning Glory, why are you up so late? It is obvious, to anyone paying attention, that you are truly a fairy lantern, lighting the way at dusk with your luminescence.
We’ve had a couple days of sweet autumn rain, the air still and warm. Fern and I have had a blast indoors, making elderberry syrup (Nope, never did find them wild…I gave in and foraged them dried from Rainbow Grocery), strewing popcorn all over the house and drawing countless crayon masterpieces of “Kites! In the windy!”
But grey skies do not quench a toddlers thirst for “Park! Park!”. So in the late afternoon two days ago, we headed over to Koshland, the little gem just 1/2 block away. Warding off visions of wet sand adhering itself to every inch of my daughter, I told her teary face that “Gosh, the playground is just all locked up. I guess it must be closed when it rains!”. That seemed acceptable enough and she was content to visit the community garden at the back of the park.
The garden is tiered, surrounded by evergreens, with the bottom level feeling quite secluded. As the rain drizzled and we opened the gate, Fern sucked in her breath and pointed, “Mama! Whazat? Hawk!” and I looked up in time to see our friend fly up into the tree directly above us.
We stayed in the garden as evening came on, and the hawk began what I realized was its last hunt of the evening, waiting for the rats and mice to emerge. I tried stalking it, while Fern gleaned every last unripe raspberry from the bushes. I could get within 7 feet or so, and then it would fly up, just out of reach. We finally left, both of us standing underneath, offering our hearts up in gratitude.
I didn’t have my camera with me, so we went back yesterday, on the off chance this twilight hunt is a habit. But as we searched the trees there was no sight of our friend, so I reconciled myself to a sandy kid and acquiesced to the playground. Some neighborhood kids showed up, plus an adult couple with a puppy. While pandemonium ensued, I felt a rush of air above my head. Looking up just in time, I saw the hawk swooping right above me, and down into the garden. No one else noticed, but I grabbed Fern and said as enticingly as I could, “I just saw the hawk fly into the garden! Do you want to go see it?”. She gave me a look that could only be interpreted as humoring me and said, “Uh….yeah.”.
Camouflage. A wonder of nature that if contemplated could provide enough awe for a lifetime.
Fern invited me to sit down next to her. We had found a dying mouse the day before, and I had moved it to a drier spot under a tree and covered it with a leaf blanket. It was still there. Fern had been intrigued and concerned, “Its sleepy. Sleepy.”. I had told her it was a special kind of sleep, one that happens at the end of life and I repeated this. Again, acceptable explanation offered, she looked kindly at it and said, “Aw…”. The moment was gentle and slow and then she whispered, “Mama! Whazat? Hawk. Hawk mama!” and pointed behind me.
Low light and enthusiasm makes for blurry photos.
These past two encounters contain the kind of potent quiet that nurtures my soul in just the right way. With all that has taken place the last few weeks, and this summer in general, the grey skies and hushed streets of the past few days have provided much needed resonance between inner and out. Not at all dreary, but rather a marked transition, the season ending with a soft sigh. I am so looking forward to the shorter days, to cozy hours and deeper dreamtime. Leo was in mine last night. He was still alive, but asleep in a spot by the bed. My hands touched him and my heart felt relief, the way I feel when I am on land, when I am home. I felt my story of grief dissipate like fog and I thought, “I am looking behind me and weeping, and yet here he is and has been all this time. I need to pay attention to what is before me.”.