Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Solitude in the City

Yesterday I rose at 4:00, which wasn't nearly enough sleep for me. But it's one of my favorite times of the day because it's so blessedly quiet. The typical city soundscape—airplanes' hum, cars' honking, children's hectoring, phones' ringtones—is set on mute and my brain seems to fire on more cylinders in response. When I was employed, I enjoyed editing during this time; in fact, could get twice as much accomplished.

Yesterday, I spent the time roaming the Web for job opportunities. Cardinals sang in the background and from the next room came the penny-whistle snore of my hound. 

Then a shrill cry broke the spell. I don't know if the cry itself makes me shiver or if  (more likely) it's knowing what that cry portends. 

It was a hawk. What kind, I'm not sure. I've observed three different varieties in my neighborhood in the last year: peregrine falcon, marsh hawk, and goshawk. At one time I could tell the difference between the hawks according to what they left behind of a meal. I'd share it with you, but now can't remember and haven't been able to find the original source of that information.

As I've mentioned before, I'm delighted to have any kind of wildlife variety in the 'hood. And I realize every creature has to eat. I just don't like hearing the hawk's dinner bell. I've seen the terror it wreaks upon the pigeon community and can only imagine what it does to the bunny community. I'm food chain–averse and prefer to focus on the nonviolent aspects of animals in my midst.

When I start overempathizing with animals (how can you not empathize with them, though?), I should call to mind this quote  from orator Robert G. Ingersoll: "In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments—there are consequences."


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