If you have been following my posts on Caring Bridge, you know that my cherished wife Mary died of lymphoma on March 21st. The days since then have been filled with grief, joy at remembering our great love for one another, and details of planning. The wonderful memorial service is over, the house filled with family and friends is getting quiet, and I am looking at what lies ahead for my life as a widower.
Having an exercise-needy dog helps get me out in the brisk air and yesterday afternoon, we took a long walk up in the forest land that surrounds us. It was cold and spitting snow, I had binoculars and walking poles, and we had a nice workout climbing up into the pine woods and revisiting some trails we haven’t been on in four months. My hands were freezing in my work gloves and the birds were few but it was a good outing.
Then, as we neared the house, a large raptor flew through the pines toward me calling loudly at Penny who was up ahead. It perched very close to me, continuing its “kak, kak, kak, kak” call as I watched it through the binoculars. Light grey breast, yellow talons, broad white stripe of the eye, long tail — big bird. It sat there focused on the dog, until she moved back towards me, and off it flew, still calling. Wow.
I hoped it might be a Northern Goshawk, having eliminated a lot of the others raptors, but had to wait until I got home to check the bird book and iPhone. The image was convincing and then when I played the call, it was definite. Life bird #434.
It’s fitting since last Fall I got a “Goshawk” license plate for my truck. At the time, I’d never seen a Northern Goshawk but thought the plate might bring me luck. Well, whatever the reason, our paths crossed and the wonderful bird gave me a nice lift in spirits after a long journey with my beloved Mary.