On the Wings of a Hawk

by JoAnne Dodgson

When she got to the dirt path circling the meadow at the edge of the woods, Kyla looked to her left and looked to her right. Feeling pulled in both directions, she was unsure which way to go. While trying to decide, she noticed a shadow moving swiftly across the tall swaying grass. She looked up toward the sky to see who it belonged to.

“Hello!” Kyla brightly called out to the hawk, delighted by the sight of the magnificent bird.

“Hello to you,” said the hawk, soaring by.

“What’s it like up there?” Kyla asked, admiring the way the sun lit up the hawk’s wings and red tail feathers.

“It’s incredible,” replied the hawk. “Beautiful winds. Spectacular views.”

“Hey, can I ask you something?” Kyla called out, thinking quickly on her feet. She realized this was a great opportunity to get a second opinion. “There’s something I’m trying to figure out and maybe you can help me.”

Suddenly Kyla was distracted by the fear of what he’d think of her if she asked a stupid question. She nervously coughed and cleared her throat, delaying for a moment while she silently cheered herself on to be brave and take a chance and just ask.

“It’s about the in-betweens. Oh wait, just a second.” She interrupted herself again, this time to get her sweater arranged as a cushion on the ground. She sat down, preparing herself for the lengthy lecture she expected to come from the hawk.

“I’m not really sure where to begin. It’s just that I feel lost somewhere in between where I’ve been and where I really want to go. I’m trying hard to change, but I feel so stuck. What should I do? What would you do? How do you cope with all the in-betweens?” Kyla looked up toward the hawk, anxiously awaiting the answers she was desperately counting on.

“What’s an in-between?” asked the hawk.

Kyla couldn’t believe he didn’t know. She shaded her eyes from the sun as she looked up toward the hawk, figuring out how to explain.

“Well, let’s say you’re flying up there in the sky and you see something way down here that you’ve been hunting for. So you dive toward the meadow. You’re not where you used to be anymore. You haven’t gotten to where you’re going to be yet. In between up there and down here. In between seeing what you want and actually having it.”

“That’s passion,” the hawk quickly replied, tilting his wings to meet the winds.

“Passion?” Kyla frowned, squinting up at the hawk.

“Passion. Focus. Clear intent. That’s what it is,” said the hawk.

Kyla was taken aback. “But don’t you see? When you’re somewhere in between where you used to be and where you hope you’ll finally end up, you might not ever even get there. There’s so much that could go wrong in between seeing what you want and actually having it, between knowing what it is and really bringing it into your life. You could be looking in all the wrong places. What if your vision isn’t clear and you miss it? You could be heading in the wrong direction or starting out at the wrong time. What if you never even find what you’re looking for? Or what if you find it and then realize it’s not what you want after all?”

“What if you never even find what you’re looking for? Or what if you find it and then realize it’s not what you want after all?”

Kyla stopped abruptly to catch her breath, embarrassed by the flood of her emotions. She timidly glanced up toward the hawk, looking for reassurance. But all she could see was a big empty sky. All she heard was silence. She waited awhile, hoping the hawk would come back. It felt like forever. Frustration and worry paced back and forth in her mind. Eventually she picked up her sweater and roughly brushed off the clinging blades of grass, grumbling about how she couldn’t keep sitting around wasting her time.

On her drive home, Kyla leaned out the window every chance she could get, looking in the sky for the hawk who she secretly hoped was trying to find her too. As she slowed down to pull in her driveway, something compelled her to turn off the blinker, cruise past her house, circle around the block, and head back toward the meadow at the edge of the woods. She turned up the music and loudly sang along, celebrating the fact that there was no logical explanation for what she was doing. She just knew she had to go back.

Careening to a stop, Kyla jumped out of the car and ran through the sea of tall grass, firmly telling herself that no matter what happened, no matter how long it took, she was going to stay until she saw the hawk. She walked quickly around the meadow once and then twice, keeping her eye on the sky. The third time around, her pace began to slow. Her mood began to drop. Her determination faded into disappointment. Maybe now it was really time to go home.

Kyla walked through the meadow, heading to her car, lightly brushing her hands along the tops of the grass. That’s when she noticed a shadow dancing across the field. That’s when she looked up in the sky to see who it belonged to, feeling apprehensive and hopeful all at once.

“It’s you!” Kyla called out warmly to the hawk overhead. She shaded her eyes from the sun so she could watch the hawk soar in the cloudless blue sky.

“Greetings my two-legged friend,” he replied.

“Where have you been?” Kyla asked, trying to sound calm and composed.

“I’ve been soaring,” explained the hawk. “It’s exhilarating.”

“Well, I’ve been waiting,” grumbled Kyla. “Waiting around for you to come back. Waiting and worrying that is.”

Kyla untied her sweater from around her waist and placed it on the ground so she could sit down. “So now do you see what I mean? About the in-betweens? All that waiting and worrying and not ever knowing what’s going to happen. The in-betweens are really not very much fun.”

“If it’s fear and stress that consume your attention, then that’s all you’ll see. And that’s all you’ll hear. And you’ll end up convinced
that you’re stranded and stuck.”

“That all depends on what you’re filling them up with,” said the hawk, circling overhead. “If it’s fear and stress that consume your attention, then that’s all you’ll see. And that’s all you’ll hear. And you’ll end up convinced that you’re stranded and stuck.” The hawk glided by on his elegant wings. “The truth is, my friend, you can fly.”

“Oh really?” Kyla smiled, thinking the hawk was teasing her. “So tell me,” she said, deciding to play along, “how can I fly?”

“Follow your passions,” said the hawk.

“Follow my passions?” questioned Kyla. She stared at the ground, silently perplexed. “But how am I supposed to do that?” she finally blurted out.

“Open up your vision,” said the hawk as he landed on the top branch of a towering pine. “Gather up your attention. Hone in your focus. Go after what you really want. Seek it with your heart, with steady clear intent. It’s your quest. It’s your life. So choose.”

Kyla climbed up on a flat boulder to get a better view of the hawk. She watched him take flight and soar, so uninhibited, so unencumbered, so very much alive. He coasted on the winds with natural ease, keen awareness and such grace. She loved to watch him fly, how he loved being a hawk and how he loved flying too. That’s when she knew: that’s what she wanted, that’s how she wanted to feel. That’s when she felt her own yearning desire to be free.

“Will you teach me how to fly?” she called out to the hawk across the meadow.

“It’s right there, inside your remembering,” said the hawk. He flew toward the woman on the rock. “Don’t have to cage yourself in. Feel your radiance. Ride with the winds.”

Kyla stood on the rock, reaching out with her arms, feeling her hunger to be fully alive. The hawk circled overhead in the sky, whispering in the winds. Open up your vision. Gather up your attention. Go after what it is you really want.

Suddenly distracted by the doubting chatter in her mind, Kyla lost her balance. “Are you really sure it’s okay to have what I want?” she asked, her hands on her hips, her voice echoing old wounds from the past.

“Confusion and self-doubt will only clip your wings,” said the hawk. “Remember what you know, underneath all the judgments, beyond all the fears. You can fly.”

what you know, underneath all the judgments, beyond all the fears.
You can fly.”

Kyla closed her eyes, facing the sun, feeling the warmth on her skin. She turned into the wind and slowly and elegantly lifted her arms, stretching them out wide open. Her spirit danced into the endless expanse of the brilliant blue sky. There she stood, in the middle of a meadow, on top of a rock, soaring.

When she heard the hawk’s shrill cry, Kyla opened her eyes and gracefully dropped her arms to her sides. “That was beautiful,” she beamed, looking up at the hawk, feeling the fire of awakening inside.

“That was you,” said the hawk to the woman on the rock.

“That was me?” she asked curiously.

“That’s you,” repeated the hawk, coasting above the meadow. “That’s home. That’s where your power lives. That’s where love flourishes. That’s where your truths will be found.”

The hawk flew swiftly around the grassy field. “Coming home to yourself is how you get free. You can fly anywhere, anytime. It’s up to you. All you have to do is choose.”

Kyla watched the hawk float in the air and dance on the winds, soaring around the sea of tall grass. “I can fly,” Kyla whispered as she circled around on the rock, mirroring the hawk’s flight around the meadow. The hawk glided over the trees at the edge of the field and disappeared, blending into the woods. Kyla jumped down from the rock and ran toward the trees, not yet ready to say goodbye. She ran across the meadow, moving swiftly through the tall grass, her senses open and alive.

When she came to the place where the meadow meets the woods, she stopped to listen, alert to any signs of the hawk. Standing in the stillness, Kyla sensed her winged friend had flown on. Disappointed, she started walking back the way she came to gather up the belongings she’d left behind, not knowing at the time there was something other than her sweater that she was on her way back to reclaim.

“It’s up to you. All you have to do
is choose.”

Meandering through the grassy meadow, Kyla’s missing-of-the-hawk turned into a spontaneous treasure hunt. She stopped to take a closer look — watching grasshoppers hop, touching red berries weighing down the vines, and gathering up interesting stones, colorful leaves and other things that called to her.

When she found her sweater on the ground, she placed the overflowing handfuls of items on the cottony fabric, figuring she could tie up the sleeves to make a knapsack to carry her mementos to the car. As she sat there admiring her earthy pile of treasures, her attention kept getting drawn back over to the rock. She looked down on her treasures, then back over at the rock. Down at her treasures, then again over at the rock. Suddenly it became clear. She knew just what she had come there to do.

Kyla carried her cherished items one by one to the rock, carefully constructing a sacred site to honor the place of her remembering. When she was done, she stepped back to admire her creation, delighted by the circle of stones surrounding the earthen bird who had wings of fiery red leaves, a body of sun-dried tree bark, a head made of moss, whose beak was a shimmery black stone shaped like the crescent moon.

Kyla turned toward the woods, like the bird on the rock, facing the direction she’d last seen her friend. She whispered her thanks to the hawk, to the rock and the meadow, for all that had happened there. She picked up her sweater, clinging leaves and clumps of dirt and all, and walked home through the sea of tall swaying grass.

Journal, Volume 2 Issue 8