Shoulders back, foot atop a whale bone. She takes the feathered gloves and puts them on her hands. They are shorter than she would have imagined, a hawk’s feathers: Brown, chocolate, gold. Stripes play out across her fingers. She does not want to think of the reason why the hawk is only feathers now.

She closes her eyes and imagines that she is about to take flight. She feels her shoulders tense, her arms slowly lift to her sides. Her weight rests on just one foot, as she feels herself grow lighter. She can almost hear the wind now; the eddy that carries her up and up the giant spiral into the heavens. Just the slightest shift of weight and she changes directions. There is no flapping like the awkward pigeon. It is all so subtle, so easy. It is just the air and her wings. Tilting just a bit to her left, she sees acres and acres of greens and bronzes and the ocean out beyond. She flexes her shoulders once more and brings her hands into her body.

She grows warmer as she becomes the living breathing body of the hawk. Wanting to believe with everything she has that should she simply lift her other foot she could fly.

The Shaman comes up behind her then, and pushes against her back. Jarring. Breaking the concentration. The air shivers and gravity calls. The Shaman grabs her shirt and brings her back. ‘You were flying too high, girl.’ She tells her.

She is back in her body once more. Aware of the feathered gloves, the hand at her back pushing. There is a last flash of heat that rolls thru her body as the hawk leaps up into the air, leaving her behind. She is back on earth, sadly bereft. A friend comes over to gently remove the gloves. And she thinks: ‘can I keep them, can I fly again?’ But the Shaman looks at her, and she releases them.

Afterwards, on the drive home, she is so curious. What would have happened if she had been left alone to take flight? Would she indeed have sprouted giant wings and left this earthly plain. She wears the hawk on her shoulder. At the time, she’d had her intellectual reasons for the ink, but after this day, she wonders if there is more.

Two days later, she is walking in the mountains and watches in wonder as a red tailed hawk takes to the sky. It flies up, higher and higher as it makes a giant spiral up into the clouds. And then with the subtlest of movements, it changes directions and begins a dive hundreds of feet down to catch its prey.

She closes her eyes, breathing in the pungent scent of the mountain. And for a moment, she longs with heart and soul to feel her shoulders spread once more, to lift her arms to catch the breeze. And with a leap of faith, she raises one foot and then the other, as she takes to the skies to soar once more.

Poetic Plantings
Landscape Design