What the Hawks Told Me

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This weekend I went out to my favorite place in my hometown: my local arboretum. I went with my journal, a stack of books, some Sour Patch Kids for snacks, my hippie yearly planner and my regular weekly planner. It was a gorgeous day — early fall weather, with lots of golden sunshine mixed with a slight yet brisk wind. I wore a hoodie, jeans and Converse, and I hunkered down between some hawthorn trees on top of a large sarong/scarf I got ages ago on a beach in Thailand.

I wasn’t just there to hang out and enjoy the beauty of it all, though that was definitely an aspect of it. I was taking some time to do a kind of mini-retreat — to figure out my September resolutions, map out the rest of the year and just check in with myself in general. But, of course, it wasn’t just settling into a grassy knoll, finding enlightenment and then parlaying it into world domination! Honestly, I spent a lot of the time just zoning out. I realized how little I just get to veg out these days, so it was just a real treat to stare up into the sky and watch the trees sway in the wind. I’d write a little, then veg, then journal, then veg. It was gloriously peaceful.

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Finally I got focused and was ready to make my little lists, mind maps, lists within lists, yah yah yah…I even had a little worksheet I made up for myself to help pique and focus my thinking. (An eternal student, I love myself a good worksheet.) But then I noticed a bunch of bees surrounding me. What the hell is it about me and bees? Not wanting to be stung yet again — I already learned that lesson — I relocated…only to have the bees follow me. It was annoying! So I relocated again…and the bees kept following! It was the world’s slowest chase scene, me and a bunch of bees in a patch of grass. It was kind of funny, to be honest, but for the recent memory of my sting in July. So I kept relocating, and I kind of lost my Zen and focus. By the time I had shook off the bees, sigh…I just couldn’t get focused again, even though I hunkered down, re-read what I’d written in my journal and planner and tried to re-chill.

I looked down at what I’d written so far in my little nerdy worksheet. Writing another novel, other smaller creative projects, fun autumnal adventures, a writing class…all stuff I was excited about, passionate about, what I love doing. And yet something was missing for me, though it was hard to put my finger on it. It was all pieces of a life waiting to happen, lots of things I’ve done or are excited to do. I felt challenged and creative when I thought about each separate thing. But that was the thing, though…”separate,” “pieces”…it all felt really atomized and random. I realized the bigger issue was that nothing feels married to a larger vision, a bigger movement of life.

I’ve spent the past few years reconfiguring my life, getting a sense of structure and solidity in there. It’s not something you can do — or at least I can do — in a year or even two, three years. And now…what’s the next turn of the wheel? I’m sensing a shift, but towards what and how, I’m not fully sure yet. As I was puzzling it over, I heard a caw, and I looked up to see two hawks swooping and circling in the sky. Perfect, I thought to myself. If you know about spirit animals and such, hawks are a symbol of the bigger perspective. They’re able to take in a large amount of landscape and see the lay of the land as they glide and ride the wind above. Yet, through sharp-eyed perspective and surefire instincts and intuition, they’re able to zero in on a tiny little speck and grab exactly what they want without a lot of meandering or bullshit. That’s exactly the kind of power I need right now at this juncture in my life.

The funny thing is that I can see how I want life to be when I’m an old lady, like when I’m in my 70s and 80s and 90s. I can see the home, the people, the gifts left to the world. It’s really a question of how the wheel will turn, and what kind of momentum I can build to get me there just a bit more elegantly and skillfully. Things are getting a little quieter for me after a kind of weird June gloom of a summer, and I’m hoping to just sail along serenely until I know exactly what that next move will be. Then I’m hoping I can swoop in swiftly and surely and make it happen, whatever it may be.

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