This morning, I stood in the backyard listening to leaves falling en masse, clattering over each other with a sound like rain. The leaves in the neighborhood had seemed too green, too late and now, days after a hard freeze, they were dropping fast. It was amazing to see and hear.

I climbed to my roof to shoot a photo of a balloon below the just-past-full moon (missed it -- too many damn wires). While I was on the roof, our scrub jays made a ruckus for peanuts. Three of them have already taken 5 pounds of nuts in less than a month.

A rare lack of quorum for volleyball freed me to drive back from Los Lunas via Coors. I turned off at the entrance to the Open Space Visitor Center, which was closed. I noticed a man with a hawk on his heavily-gloved arm. I parked and asked: "Are you a falconer?" "Yes, I am," he replied. I never got his name, though his relatively small male redtail hawk is named Little Joe -- "a long story." The falconer is returning to this avocation after a 35 year hiatus. He is in his two-year apprenticeship; he has a sponsor, rather than a master. I shot dozens of pictures of Little Joe, all the while thinking about a poem I read in my Mittelhochdeutsch class 30 years ago: Ich zog mir einen Falcon ( -- Gott im Himmel, now I don't have to dig that book out of the garage). It's in the tradition of "if you love something let it go..." In fact, I sensed some love between these two, which surprised me more of the bird than the man.

I drove on up Coors to Alameda and stopped at the dirt parking area on the east end of the bridge. For almost 23 years, I have driven by the old bridge, which is now a pedestrian, equestrian, bicyclian way across the river. I finally crossed that bridge, marveling at the beautiful bosque. This week, John Fleck wrote about the oddity of formal spaces at the BioPark overshadowing raw nature a few steps beyond. Ja wohl, John. We live in a breathtakingly beautiful place. Love it.

I end the day thinking back to Mutts in the morning comics:
"If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is 'thank you,' that would suffice." Meister Eckhart

The falconer and Little Joe

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Comment by Johnny_Mango on November 26, 2007 at 3:32pm
Wonderful meditation...and a beautiful picture as well.


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