“My roof is leaking. The roofer is estimating the repair may cost $5,000. Not to mention the money outlay to fix the stained ceiling. Tuition payments begin in a mere four months, and despite our creative finagling of loans, grants, savings and begging the college for a few extra dollars, our budget remains short. My arthritis is causing my hands to ache and throb, and on top of everything, it’s raining!” I was depressing myself with my internal rant of complaints as I drove to the office. Could things possibly get any worse? I was about to spiral into Olympic-level catastrophizing when I instinctively turned my head at the stop light to scan the greening forest preserve I pass every day. And there it was, high above the tree line, wedged between thick graying branches void of the first bud of spring. A hawk’s nest.

From a hundred yards away, I could faintly make out the curves and juts of the twigs, the weight and size of the nest making it look more precariously housed than it probably was. Centered in the nest was a magnificent hawk, itself scanning the preserve, possibly contemplating the best path for hunting breakfast. The bird’s head was a lighter shade of the ashy brown feathers that covered its body. It’s eye flicked in its orbit as I watched. The bird looked to be at least three feet tall, though my
perspective could have skewed my vision. Its beak parted and I thought a caught a flash of silvery tongue. I noticed my own mouth was hanging open, so in awe was I of this rare communion with a creature I’d seen this close maybe only once or twice in my life. The beep of a horn behind me brought me back to the present and reminded me to get the car moving. But my energy was changed from that moment. Worries about money, stress about what ifs, irritation at having to live with the drywall dust and hammer-pounding that accompanies home repairs — it all seemed like nonsense compared to what I’d just seen. The beauty of nature, the
wondrousness of atoms and energy coming together to create a soaring creature that embodies majesty, the fortuitousness of being able to see the hawk in its home, perhaps just moments from its next flight shook me with gratitude. How lucky was I? Being a sheltered suburbanite who rarely veers from the confines of subdivisions, strip malls and paved streets, I knew I might never experience the kismet of this meeting again. I blessed that powerful creature, the Universe who gifted me with this sight, and let me heart expand with joy. Yes, indeed — how lucky I am.