Hawk and Pigeon

I was having coffee with my best friend (at the dentist’s office of all places) when she saw a hawk through the window and pointed it out to me.  It was a small hawk, and it had caught a very large pigeon.  After striking it, I guess the hawk found it’s prize a bit heavy and was pulled down into a bottlebrush tree.  It swayed precariously in the small top branches, trying to keep hold of its meal and gather itself together enough to propell itself back into the air.

As it swung back and forth, a crow appeared and started dive bombing the hawk, trying to get it to drop the pigeon.  Eventually the crow succeeded, and the dead bird tumbled down out of the tree to land in the gutter.  Instantly, the crow was upon it and quickly started making a meal of it while feathers flew. 

A car drove by and the crow abandoned the pigeon.  The hawk gathered itself together and flew down to start ripping at the carcass.  As cars came and went, the hawk and crow exchanged places several times.  Finally, the hawk flew off with the pigeon, only a couple of feel above the ground, and I lost sight of it.

I’ve thought about the scene a lot since that day.  In simplest terms it was a life and death struggle that happens every day, all over the world.  But, I couldn’t help thinking of the incident as a metaphor for modern life.  How often do we grab for something that is too big or more than we need or know what to do with?  And, what happens as we sway on that flimsy branch trying to hold on to our oversized prize?  Someone comes along to try to take it.  We flap and sway precariously, sometimes risking our own well being, just to hold on to it.  Why?  Yes, there are things worth holding on to, but not a dead pigeon.  At least, I no longer see the value in ever bigger and brighter things.  Perhaps that is a gift from my boys – a shift in perspective.  Let the dead dove go and steady yourself on the branch before you hurt yourself.  Monkey.

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