Saturday, January 14, 2012

Messenger of change...


Cooper's Hawk photo by Rachel Bilodeau
      We've had a Cooper's Hawk in the yard several times this month.   Birds of prey are fascinating to me.  I used to watch the hawks, ospreys, and eagles in Florida as they dove into the water for fish. 

     When I visited Alaska the summer of 2008, my cousin Sue, and I went to the tip of Homer's Spit to where the bald eagles made a habit of hanging out.  It was incredible to see such a large and magnificent symbol of America in the wild.

     Because both of my fiction novels have begun with Native American Indian legends (wolves and eagles) I did a little research to see what I could find out about hawks and their place in storytelling.

     It was believed that the hawk empowered a person to examine their lives closely (because of the hawk's superior vision) in order to keep what was good and positive, and to release what was bad or negative.  They are thought to be messengers between the worlds of the living and the dead (Inuit chose the Raven for this role as I wrote about in Eagle Visions).  Native American Indians believed that the hawk was a messenger of change, reminding us that we need to remain focused and aware of our surroundings.  Because the hawk has an incredible ability to survive and adapt to its environment ~ they can be found in busy cities and in the open country ~ they often are used as a symbol of persistence, determination, and strong will.

     The rational, animal lover in me knows that the meaning of the hawk in our yard is simply that it has discovered the abundant supply of food (small birds) in the large shrubs that separate our house from the one next door.

     But the imaginative, creative writer in me wants to believe that the hawk is a messenger of change for us in this new year...  

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