Sunday, August 14, 2011


I can't get the image of our dead hawk out of my mind.

I say "our," but it is not like we owned it. The bird, perhaps a red-tailed hawk, just frequented the neighborhood.

I think it got electrocuted by the electric wires.

I couldn't believe how big it was, lying there on the ground right next to a telephone pole on Pine Street. It looked like someone had just tipped over a bird from a taxidermist's shop -- beautiful, powerful, unharmed -- except it was lying on its back in the grass.

What struck me most were its legs. They were so big and strong-looking, and its talons seemed huge. Now, it was just powerless, dead.

I am not dead but know too well the feeling of powerlessness.

I was playing Life with my little niece and nephew, which meant I was sitting on the floor making an effort to play and they were running around yelling. Their parents were out back working on our new house.

I saw my nephew stop running and just stare out the back door. I asked what he was looking at and he just said some guy. I thought it must be someone working on the house, but then I saw shadows moving on the deck outside the door, so I yelled "hello" and "come in." I assumed it was a friend or something. Who else comes to a back door?

My niece came to stand with her brother by now. I shouted "come in" again, but instead he asked the kids where their parents were. My niece said out back and he left. I called my sister and told her someone was headed back there, still assuming it was a friend.

Nope. It was some guy who wanted to pave the driveway. And I sat there on the floor while my little relatives told some random guy that their parents weren't there.

I thought back to my time in North Carolina. I was still walking. Not well, but I was still walking.

A guy knocked at my door one day and asked if he could have a glass of water. It was hot and he said he was waiting for someone. He might have said he just got out of prison -- I lived in a less-than-ideal spot.

I did not want him to see how poorly I walked, figured that would be bad, but I wanted him to have some water. So I invited him and told him to get it himself. He did and then left. No problem.

I'd have been powerless if he did something, but at least I just endangered me. This time my powerlessness threatened part of my family.


Anonymous said...

not your fault...


Anonymous said...

Not your, if the stranger had meant harm and was intent on causing trouble, many of us would have been powerless against evil intent.

Also, despite the news, we don't--despite our skeptical natures--really expect trouble.

Glad it all turned out okay!

Matt Trott said...

Not my fault but still ...

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