Guiding the Vision of Others
Do you ever have the feeling like someone is watching over you? Perhaps you have noticed “chicken hawks,” who tend to rest on telephone poles, allowing them to look down upon us. In one of my recent sightings, I had the great privilege of an up-close and personal encounter with a Red-tailed Hawk.
Less than one mile from home, I was driving down the road, when I saw something unusual. Sitting in the grass, right by the road, was a Red-tailed Hawk. Yearning for a photo opportunity, I slowly climbed out of the truck, and inched my way closer to the bird. Each step I took I anticipated the hawk screeching loudly and ruffling up his feathers. Oddly enough, he kept staring right into my eyes, and calmly remained in the same position. This was an inspirational moment for me, and one that I will always remember. I have an appreciation for nature, and being able to view each tiny detail was astonishing. Every time I hit the shutter on my camera, I analyzed the hawk’s attributes, wondered what its purpose was, and why it had crossed my path.
When you first look at the photo what do you see? Well here’s my perspective. First, I am drawn into the hawk’s eyes, as the contrast seems to make them jump out. Immature birds have yellowish irises, like the one I photographed. Once the hawk attains full maturity, the iris slowly darkens into a reddish-brown hue. The intensity of this hawk’s eyes almost forces me into a trance, causing me to think beyond what I’m actually seeing. As an attribute of their incredible hunting skills, a hawk’s eyesight is phenomenal, matter of fact it is eight times as powerful as a human’s. This makes me wonder if the hawk crossed my path because I needed to keep my eyes open, and focus on certain areas in life requiring my attention.
Next, my eyes travel to the hawk’s beak. Not only is the hawk’s stare intense, but it’s beak and impressive talons are powerful. They have been revered as great hunters, which is why Native Americans looked to hawks for help when seeking a difficult situation, or sharpening a vague direction. Hawk’s often appear in our life when we need to pay attention to the subtle messages found around us. When the hawk flies into our view, we are asked to evaluate ourselves, while ripping out the negativity and wrong ways down the road of life.
Red-tailed Hawks were considered sacred to many Native Americans, as their feathers were sometimes used in religious ceremonies. This brings me to my next point of view, which is the hawk’s feathers. They provide the symbol of freedom, not only in thought, but in imagination. In some Indian lore, it was believed that hawks could fly directly back to the land of the grandfathers. This is why they are thought of as messengers, destined to help us understand our dreams and more about ourselves. In a sense, hawks have helped humans learn to spread their wings and fly, just like themselves.
After studying each organic shape and various tones of color within the feathers, my eyes slide right down the hawk’s talons, and become lost in the environment. The twigs, grass, and leaves within the foreground are a lighter color and more detailed. This enhances the design aspect of the photo as several lines are created. As you can see, the background is darker and less detailed. I see this similar to viewing life. The surroundings close to us seem clear, as if there is a spotlight shining on them. Even though we have an idea of what those paths will lead to, the future is unknown, far away, and hard to see, making it harder to analyze the details. Sometimes in life we become so focused on the future that we miss out on the present, and perhaps a little guidance would be helpful.
So let me be the guide for a moment. Did you notice the walnut to the right of the hawk? Ironically enough it has a similar shape to the hawk’s head. The black holes resemble eyes, there’s a lighter color surrounding them just like on the hawk, there’s a triangular shape similar to a beak, and the outer layer of the walnut is dark like the hawk’s head. When photographing the bird I noticed the walnut, so I purposefully crouched low to the ground, and took the photo from that specific angle. So as a piece of advice, don’t become so consumed by the big picture, that you miss out on smaller details.
The next day after taking this photo, I had four Red-tailed Hawk’s cross my path, all within the distance of only a couple of miles. It was then that I knew it was meant for me to write this post. This year has been very challenging for me personally with many unexpected road blocks. But after seeing the hawk I realized my journey is not complete, and not only is God watching over me but so are the creations that he has placed in my life. It also gave me the reassurance that everything will be ok. Everyone and everything I come in contact with guides me to the next part of my journey, helping me take flight to my destination.