living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty." ~ Albert Einstein
While leaving a kindergartener alone for any length of time seems somewhat reckless today, back in the post WWII and don’t-lock-your-doors era of the 1950s, kids grew up quickly if they knew what was good for them.
And in our home, it was rather a sink-or-swim philosophy, which had its plusses and minuses.
Nevertheless, I was happy to prove myself.
As I watched my mother maneuver the family Plymouth down our long, gravel driveway - my tiny, little self felt very big indeed. That was … until her car disappeared from sight.
In that one singular moment, everything changed. Household items that had been so familiar took on a bizarre and lonely presence.
And I mean everything! Dolls, stuffed animals, furniture and other decorative tchotchkes that had once provided a familiar backdrop of daily life suddenly looked ghoulishly lifeless.
Finally, taking a seat by my bedroom window, I anxiously watched and waited for my mother’s return until the loneliness became too palpable to ignore.
Despite the third rule not to leave the house, I stormed the blockade (also known as the front door) and escaped to the outdoor sanctum of our concrete porch stoop.
Warm and welcoming at last! And as the stoop was connected to the house, I hadn’t really broken the third rule.
No longer frightened, I carefully propped myself against the screen door and watched the glistening leaves of a nearby tree flutter in the breeze. For a small and scared child, the babbling voices of those leaves seemed to whisper countless words of comfort. (In fact – I can still hear those same gentle words today whenever leaves rustle in the wind.)
During that kindergarten year of my young life, I didn't do a very good job of learning my letters or numbers. And while I didn’t quite master the sitting-at-the-desk task either, I did learn a most powerful lesson regarding the remarkable, healing relationship between humans and nature.
Never Underestimate Karma ~ Ever
Not wanting to stay inside a minute longer, I still decided to enjoy the healing gifts of nature among the beautiful winter surroundings of Jeffrey Woods, but from the inside comfort of my car.
For a period of time, it was exactly what I had planned - and it was wonderful!
I was thoroughly enjoying warm seat heaters, a moon roof opened to the heavens, a good book and a beautiful woodland vista from the parking lot, until a shadowy figure flew overhead and landed in one of my favorite trees about 30 ' away.
I figured it must have been a very big hawk to cast such an enormous shadow, but I had no intention of getting out of the car to investigate ... until my curiosity became too irresistible. (Easy to understand how curiosity killed the cat.)
For more than one hour, I walked into an unforgiving cold day and back again to a warm car just to get an up-close view of this magnificent bird making short order of a squirrel he had snagged for dinner.
There is something so very eerie and magical in those rare moments when animals and humans actually connect on a deeper level.
As we both stared into each other’s eyes, I intuitively knew this hawk was more than annoyed with my rude intrusion. Actually, he was seething.
I also knew I should honor his privacy, but since he was not abandoning his quarry, I was not abandoning my post. (Too far in at that point to turn back.)
After an unforgiving hour of frozen fingers, numb toes and a hugely runny nose – it was over. His stomach was full and I was, well ... dumbfounded, stupefied and amazed.
Though concerned about the negative impact this cold weather adventure might have had on my recovery, the reward was far too great to regret being the uninvited dinner guest of a red-tailed hawk.
With a buoyant step and mood, I was walking back to my car when I saw a frightening reflection in the windshield. This huge bird-of-prey had left his perch and was actually flying directly behind me, a little above head level.
I felt the hair on my neck stand on end while I prepared for an impact and a plan to avert his aggressive flight.
I will never know if that drop was meant to be a direct and targeted hit at me , but it's fun to think about it.
Coincidence: Not Sure
Amazing: You Bet
Do It Again: In a Heartbeat
* Annual Easter Egg Hunt at Jeffrey Park, April 15, 12 noon (sharp)
* Countless Varieties of Beautiful & Delicate Wildflowers and other Blooms, Starting Now! (Snowdrops, Trillium, Violets, Crabapple, Trout Lily, Virginia Bluebells, Mayapple, Solomon's Seal, Bloodroot, WIld Hyacinths ... and so much more.)