Tuesday, June 10, 2008


While driving to work this morning I witnessed the most amazing sight! I was sitting at a red light on route 129 just outside of Maryville. A hedge row was directly in front of me. Nothing fabulous; just a four foot high hedge. It was very thick and untrimmed. In the blink of an eye a small sparrow plunged directly into the thickest part of the hedge at what appeared to be nearly full speed. Before I could recover from the first blink of my eye a red tailed hawk followed the sparrow into the hedge feet first, talons open. The hawk's wings beat rapidly as if back peddling. His body did not touch the hedge; only his feet entered. And when he withdrew himself he had the little sparrow captured in his talons. I felt shocked at what I saw. Oh, I totally understood it but the finality of it. The quickness of it. I could imagine the little heart in the sparrow thumping hard and maybe his eyes saw his friends coming to his aid. Instantly from nowhere three companion sparrow's appeared and harassed the hawk. They swooped and dived on it until, in frustration, they retreated. And the realization in his beating heart was that it was over; as he watched, in vain, his friends flying further and further away. He was alone in the clutches of death. And then----darkness. Their brave attempt to rescue their little friend was to no avail. Such is the way in nature. That scene will live in my mind forever. I can almost imagine the terror of the little bird as it flew at top speed seeking sanctuary in the deepest part of the hedge. He almost made it. Another second more and he may have found safety, for the hawk could not possibly enter that maze due to its size. But the long leg's of the hawk could and did enter and the talon's found their mark. The simple finality of it all is amazing. Life and death. The daily routine of nature. The quick and the quicker. The living and the dead. But it is a routine in survival. No wanton killing; ------------as humans sometimes do.