When did the red-tailed hawk become my totem? Perhaps it was in the glimpse of a past life, when the falcon-headed Egyptian god, Horus, appeared as my healer. For many years now, the hawks and I have had a connection.
On my commute to work, I would count the hawks perched in the trees at the side of the Thruway. Most ever counted: nine. Once I saw a bird mantling her prey. Once I saw a mated pair sitting next to each other on a branch, but looking in opposite directions as if embarrassed to be so close. I got into the habit of saluting each hawk I spied, and I still do.
Ladythorn is still my email, even though I no longer live at Ladythorn Place, the house we sold in January. The name suits me, as I see myself as female but prickly. At the old house, a pair of red-tails raised their young each year. When the chicks were fledging, they would fly from tree to tree, screeching to be fed.
Once I came upon three of the young hawks sitting on the road in our neighborhood, looking bewildered. They didn’t fly off when I drove by.
Here’s a poem I wrote:
She soars and screams
her raging cry.
Her razor wings cut the sky.
She sees the rolling world unfold,
And splits the dawn in plumes of gold.