Speaking Hawk (12)

The doves scatter, twenty or more of them fanning out from the large tray feeder before me. I duck without meaning to, frantic flapping lives darting in all directions. I’m sitting in the courtyard answering questions from faculty in the Users Group on my laptop, feet propped up before me, misters cooling the air beneath the umbrella. And then the Cooper’s Hawk dips and banks before me, and I pull my knees up with a jerk. For one moment it looks like he will land on my footstool, and I’m breathless with his nearness. But he sees me, or maybe I gasp, and he veers toward our Palo Verde instead. He sits in Serena on a low green branch, and I strain to see him, to take in every bit of him with nearsighted eyes. I remember a friend of mine talking decades ago about how she was navigating a relationship with her new lover. “I keep reminding myself to just sit back and stay open,” she said. I do this now while the hawk studies me, beaming love while trying not to put too intense a focus on him. He stays for quite a while, making those wonderful quiet vocalizations I adore. If only I spoke hawk. I stay silent, not wanting to send him away. When he goes, I watch him dive between the fence and my neighbor’s carport and swoop north. A half dozen doves are startled out of a tree and fly east. I hear the water from the mister and the high-pitched sounds of dove wings flying away. I watch and listen, but I don’t see the hawk again.