25 August 2008

The Defender

This evening a hawk swooped across the backyard, landing on a fence post near the pussywillow bush and sunflowers. It wasn't a red tail and was larger than a sparrow hawk but I haven't had time to get out the Audubon book and identify it. It was graceful, swift, and focused. Wondering what caused his arrival, we looked but couldn't see anything of interest. However the next second he dove into the center of the pussywillow and dozens of goldfinches exploded from the thick branches and leaves of the bush. We were familar with a few goldfinches visiting the birdbath and we knew in the fall they relished the sunflower seeds. We thought we were blessed with about 4 or 5 of the vibrant chrome yellow and black birds, never imagining an entire flock resided close by. Just as suddenly as the hawk appeared, it flew up and away. Challenged by the neighbor's four pound Chihuahua who barked and charged all the way across the yards, the hawk took flight. Piggy, as we call him, is four pounds of dog with eight pounds of bark. He's utterly fearless and his purpose in life is to protect the neighborhood from intruders. For his effort he received a bite of grilled chicken. So now I'm pondering the sequence of flowers ~ thick bush for cover ~ abundance of birds = arrival of hunter. The circle of life and beauty of nature is not all quiet and pastoral. Aggression exists. And the defender need not be the biggest and the mightiest force. It may arrive in the form of a tiny creature with a big and strong heart.

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