A small kestrel hawk hovers outside my study window. She hangs in the air, only the tips of her wings quivering almost imperceptibly as she fixes her sights on the something in the grass that will be her meal. Freedom, power, fearlessness — she is all of these. But she does not glower with menace, for she is also patience and grace.
Why do I assume her to be female? Is it her determination? Her single-mindedness? Or merely her beauty? Her size? Perhaps I confuse her with the doomed creature in A Kestrel for a Knave. There is no logic in my choice. And yet I am certain.
Magpies, gulls, even mud larks and swallows dart and dive about her, trying to distract her from her task, to divert her attention and repel her from their patch. But she is not pressed. She will not be moved. She will fold her elegant wings and dive only when the time is right, or stretch them further and beat in a wheeling turn that carries her to another possibility.Sometimes, if I am lucky, she will settle just beyond my frame of glass and I am utterly awed. I understand in every cell of my being how Hopkins 'Stirred for a bird, —the achieve of; the mastery of the thing'.
And I feel blessed.