Sunday, November 04, 2007

Hawks and Gardens

After a few nights of Frost making his hoary appearance, what was left of the garden requires some tender care. It's time to put the garden to bed.

I didn't buy any bulbs this year; perhaps I still have time. The later I put them in the beds, however, the later in the season blooms appear. Last year, I placed a few leftover Daffodil bulbs in the ground in February. They bloomed in July...pretty, but long past the time when their compatriots were singing Spring's song.

But what a beautiful day it was yesterday! Sun shone in a brilliant blue bowl. Leaves glowed golden against that heartbreakingly blue backdrop. It felt very spiritual; it was as if I was being visited by Spirits, who, as they sat on branches, lit the whole Tree with their golden light.

I rake leaves. These leaves look like jewels spilling out of a treasure chest, so bright with their Autumn plumage, it seems a shame to rake them into piles. But I need a blanket around some plants this year; I need the nourishment Leaf mulch applies to the soil. And the soil will also benefit from the Earthworms that will proliferate, as the Leaves break down.

It is rhythmic, raking...and as I go, I meditate...letting free flowing thoughts drift through my mind. Regular raking and Bird song, the crackle of the dry Leaves, the distant sound of a Soccer game in progress at the Park, with a deep grounding in the Earth, my feet planted firmly in the wet was what my Heart needed...

A comforting blanket of Leaves, one that will restore and balance me.

I hear the chittering of our newest resident...Squirrel. It seems to me his raison d'etre is to drive the Dogs into a frenzy. I can hear him laugh at them, way down on the ground, leaping and barking, trying so hard to reach this terrible threat to our safety.

I continue raking; the Dogs are easily worn out, as maturity finds its way into their being, and will soon resume dozing in Sun's warmth...still palpable, even in November.

I know I will have to rake again; there are many Leaves still clinging to branches, awaiting the arrival of another Wind Storm.

And so, after the beds are covered, I drag a few branches, trimmed from the Trees, out to be picked up by the Town's chipping crew. As I do, I notice, as any Gardener will, another chore that requires doing...and another...and oh, yes, over there!

But I take time out, to visualize and plan the new fence enclosure we are thinking of attempting some time soon. We will continue the fence line and enclose the garden shed and the recycling shed, with entry by large gates Graham is planning to build. It will give us much more space.

And much more room to garden.

There will be a Fruit tree...and perhaps a Nut tree, over there by the Hawthorn. I'm sure Squirrel would approve of that! And I plan to grow Sunflowers all along the fence line, which will give them support, as they nod their leonine golden heads at passersby.

I wander to where four potted plants have endured a Winter and a Summer, growing roots, becoming strong enough to take on the Rocky, Clay and Sand mixture of the top part of the garden.

I have promised them a home this Autumn. But I know the soil here is hard, unforgiving. I will have to amend it, with some sea soil I have left. And yet...these youngsters will have a difficult time of it, with their roots fighting Rock and Clay.

I have time to ponder whether I can even dig these holes. I may need a pick...and another pair of hands, another body.

I sense, rather than see, another presence with me, as I walk to where I left the shovel. And then the visiting vibrations become too strong to ignore...and I turn to see Hawk staring at me from the Berry structure.

He was young and curious. I held my breath...he was not far from me...I wanted to look at him, this youngster, as long as possible. He was very interested in me, as still takes me aback as I discover animals are just as curious about humans as we are in them.

The staring match ended as he flew towards the forested area, and I was left smiling to myself. Hawk has only begun to show up with consistent regularity during the last few years. I have always held these Birds in awe; it is a comfort to have them with me.

As I begin to dig, scraping at the Rocks and scant Soil with my shovel, I hear a strange Bird out of the ordinary Bird call. I lift my head, and there...just above me, on a utility wire, sits another Hawk.

And this one is a fully fledged adult...a Red Tail.

There are no mistakes, in this Universe, and so I stopped and leaned on my shovel, looking at his beauty, drinking in his Energy. His piercing gaze skimmed over me, his head never still, yet intuitively, I knew that he was aware of every minute particle of energy surrounding him.

He flies closer, still...this time to the top of the Ivy Tree. Again that piercing, rasping cry. I tell him...I realize you are King, master of your domain. I will not harm you.

Again his call. I do not understand birdspeak. I struggle, wanting to reassure him, not knowing how other than to send him pictures. I am not prepared for the pictures he sends back to me.

He shows me his habitat, with painfully clear acumen. I see forested areas, with logging cuts, with the Forest floor littered with logs and branches. In a split second, I understand he is showing me the desecration of his area...the area in which he usually resides. Now he lives here, he tells me, his range now shortened to the parkland in the Town.

The moment passes. I continue to stare at him, as he stares far off, into the distance. His voice...his unmistakable voice, one which Hawks usually use in flight, once again calling...and then he flies off, his mighty wings beating the Air.

My head spins, now. I sit on the steps, contemplating the visit. How unusual to see two Hawks, in a single day, I think. I muse over the visions I received...not so strange, when I see wildlife out of their element. What was unusual was the rapidity and the clarity of the pictures he sent.

Taking a deep breath, I continue to dig, scrabbling until I have holes deep enough to shelter the roots of these small bushes...Forsythia, Butterfly Bush, and Viburnum. They will shelter the smaller Birds, the ones that usually hover close to me as I garden...hoping for a Worm or two.

The plants are in, cozy and warm within the shelter of the Snake fence. I pick up my shovel, the pots that held the plants, and take a final look. My eyes are drawn once again to the top of the Ivy Tree, from where Hawk shared his message with me.

It is late afternoon now, with long shadows appearing. It is the kind of afternoon where a morning spent in raking leaves, cleaning garden beds, dreaming and planning a new Season, and communing with Hawks can leave me spent and satisfied.

It is the kind of day where raking ordinary fallen Leaves, tinted with magical colours, opens the door to a whole other World.

One in which Hawks reside, and Squirrels reign and Birds are Kings.


  1. Ah, two hawks. That's a treat. Some mornings I'll hear my hawk talking and although I don't understand the language, I am happy he's still around. What a beautiful description of fall gardening and communing with the hawks! I think I prefer them over many people.

  2. Done Marion, Please!

    Send an email to the Brazil embassy your country and report the injustice that the brazilian courts are making with this girl
    Release on Flavia’s accident and status of the process.

    The resignation is to stop the evolution.

    Thank you

  3. Anonymous10:19 a.m.

    Hi! My name is Project 71. Weird name I know, but my masters are weird too. My masters also say that I'm a really interesting website. So why don't you consider reading what I am. Masters say it won't take you more than 22s to read. :) Enjoyy!

  4. Another great post, Marion! You have the knack of encapsulating the sense of peace and connection I feel while gardening and beaming it out in your posts!

    I'll swear that squirrels have a sense of humor. I remember my ex-partner's cat sitting on a fence and a squirrel running up close behind it. The cat would look around to see what was happening and the squirrel would run away again. Then, when the cat had turned its attention back, the squirrel would run up behind it again, and so on... No advantage in such behavior for the squirrel that I could see... apart from the sheer pleasure of annoying the cat.

  5. I had a close encounter with a hawk recently. I was driving down the road at about 60mph when out of nowhere a hawk nearly flew into my windshield. I guess he was after a meal and wasn't paying close enough attention. Thankfully, he noticed me before I hit him and he swerved away just in time. I was a bit startled, as I'm sure the hawk was too, but it did give me a good opportunity to see the hawk up close, especially the underside. It was a glorious blend of brown and white, beautiful!

  6. Great article with beautiful pictures. It flowed so well. Thanks

  7. How exciting. I'm in awe of hawks. This summer we got to witness some young hawks taking what we think were their first flights from the nest, in a tall palm tree nearby. Quite exciting -- for them and us.

  8. Sheila,

    Hawks are raptors, and as such, many are leery of them. To me, they are majestic birds, and rare around here...they are usually found in the forested, mountainous areas.

    But those forested areas are becoming rare, as well.


    I'm glad you're continuing to look out for those of us who require such help.

    Project 71,

    Welcome! You have an interesting site, to be sure.


    Your series on acceptance on your blog is great, thank you for attempting this subject.You're a very good writer, you know that?

    Squirrels are hilarious. Their hijinks have been a part of our family lore for ages. My daughter used to called them squirbels. It took me a long time before I realized the creature that was giving her two year old mind such nightmares was a squirrel!

  9. Livia,

    I've written about an experience very similar to's called Thickets. Here's the link.......

    It's totally amazing to see these birds close up like that. Power just flows from the Hawk.


    Thank you! By being in the garden, moving from one job to another, life itself seems to flow very easily. I'm glad that flow showed up in my post.


    Now that must have been awesome! I have seen young birds take flight from nests around my home. It always brings tears to my eyes.

    But I have never seen hawk youngsters learning to fly. What a sight that would be. The young hawk that first visited was sooooo curious. They are still a little innocent when they are young, and not as wary as perhaps they will be later in life.

  10. I finally did my eight things. I am bound and determined to learn to garden. So far I don't seem to have enough attention span or follow through.

  11. I love squirrels. We don't have them here but when visiting Cape Town I always take time out and go and feed them peanuts in the parks there.

    Amazing two hawks. I haven't seen many in my life time.

    Glad to see you enjoy raking. Here most appear to use a machine to slurp them up and never bother to do anything with them. Such a waste of wonderful nutrition for the soil.

  12. enjoying reading your four seasons writings. all we have is rain or hot sunny days. hehe!

  13. Marsha,

    When it's time for you to garden, you will. Gardening is trial and error for me, many times. Do what works for you!

    Your Eight things show many similarities between you and I. Thank you for contributing!


    Leaf mulch is wonderful for the soil...I was just watching all my neighbours tidying their yards, taking the leaves and putting them in plastic bags. I agree...what a waste!


    We definitely have four seasons here. It seems they are becoming more and more defined. We had a huge storm last night and today...blew all the remaining leaves right out of the yard!