An Encounter with a Falcon

by Carl Wade Thompson

peregrine falcon flying in a cloudy skyThe morning was grey; black rain clouds were fast approaching as my wife and I were putting our two toddlers in the back seat of our SUV. As I guided my son Ivan to his car seat, I looked to the west to see the black clouds, the north wind blowing hard with a hint of winter. Looking at the clouds stretch in the sky above our subdivision, I saw a large bird fly quickly by. At first I thought it was a buzzard; they are a common sight in our subdivision where they circle the wooded areas looking for the dead. But gazing at the bird’s fast flight, not the drunken, lazy glide that usually characterizes a buzzard’s style, I saw it was no vulture, but a bird of prey we rarely see in our development. The bird was large and flew aggressively, his destination set somewhere to the west, beyond the skyline of trees. Pointing up to the flying predator, I told my son Ivan, “Look at that falcon!”

He looked up in the direction of my finger, his brown eyes gazing with the attentiveness of a child who has seen his first bird of prey. Yelling in delight, he said “Wow! Look at that bird, Daddy!”

I looked with him at the falcon, in that moment, and it was like it was the first time I had seen a falcon when I was a child. Never before had I paid such attention to the flight of a bird I barely recognized, but now I did as I shared in my son’s brand new experience. It was like we were children for a moment, gazing in wonder as the falcon flew and flew, its large wings flapping with strength and precision. Soon the falcon was gone, beyond the sight of both old and young, and as my son talked about seeing the great bird, I placed him in his car seat and buckled him in. As I got into the car and started the engine, I was glad I had been mindful of what the moment held, and how hard it is to catch such moments, like chasing butterflies in the dark. My hope is I can keep doing it until my sons are old enough to catch those moments to share with me. For this, I hope.

This is the third article my Subdivision Journal series. I am trying to use mindfulness to observe nature in my neighborhood. Other articles in the series:
The Carrying of Sounds
The View from My Window

Author PhotoCarl Wade Thompson is a poet, essayist, and the graduate writing tutor at Texas Wesleyan University. He has published poetry and memoir essays in The Mayo Review, The Concho River Review, One in Four, Anak Sastra, The Galway Review, The Blue Collar Review, Piker Press, The Eunoia Review, Blue Minaret, Nebo Literary Magazine, Alphelion Literary Webzine, and Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas. He lives on the outskirts of Fort Worth, Texas. His poems explore the link between the urban and the rural.

Photo of Peregrine Falcon by rck953

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