Taking a Hawk’s Eye View

It’s July again: sticky, humid, due to hit 94 today — and it’s my favorite time of the year. While others are wilting, I’m in my element, stretching like a big cat, true Leo that I am, and feeling my back unkink in the heat. July, the month of my birth, has traditionally been a wonderful time for me, a period of contemplation and re-alignment — chock full of gifts from the universe.

This year I hike up to my new favorite place, a hawk watching spot in Mt. Kisco, NY. It’s a beautiful, peaceful place to meditate and reflect on the changes in my life this last year, and to muse on what I would like for the coming year. The view is magnificent, overlooking hills and forests and the Long Island Sound off in the distance. While I-684 rumbles quietly below, hawks, eagles, and raptors of all kinds migrate past this corridor and hang aloft in the air, riding the thermals over the surrounding hills. I pretend to be like the hawk looking down at the tiny speck of myself gazing up, able to see past the next hill, able to ride the currents without questioning where they come from. The hawk does not feel like a victim when the wind blows harder nor ask for a new wind — it accepts that it’s simply the wind, or simply life. The hawk adapts, it flies into the wind, or it flies somewhere else.

Gazing down at my life I can see the huge strokes of growth and change that get lost in the day to day perspective. The fact that I’m hiking at all, that it’s become a beloved part of my new routine, is a huge change. Even as I continue to recover from foot surgery, I’m fitter and stronger now than I was last year and today I keep my hiking boots and a spare pair of socks in my car so I can take off straight from work if I desire. I’ve learned to be more spontaneous, and over the last year I’ve made new friends and reconnected with old ones, joined hiking and trivia groups and said yes to more new things in my life.

Looking with a keen eye at this year, as if from a great height, I see that I have much more energy and that the reward for having nobody to answer to is not only increased self-reliance but the complete freedom to come and go as I please. Having said that, I find that I value my quiet time even more and have less and less patience with banalities. In the last year I have learned to walk away from those things and people that waste my time and energy.

Now, sitting high atop the trail, thinking of the year to come, I refine and re-align my vision for the next twelve months. I celebrate the changes still coming — new places, new people, and new projects –and the growth they will inspire. I remember in passing that I have a standing offer to swim at the local rec center and I like the sound of that — I sense my new year and my new “go bag” will include a swimsuit and towel. I look out at the horizon, like a hawk, and imagine flying toward the hills in the distance — I know that I can’t see where I’m headed from the ground, but she can.

by Cheryl Shainmark
Cheryl Shainmark is a freelance writer and editor living in Westchester, New York. A long time contributor of articles and book reviews, Cheryl is now a senior editor and a regular columnist at Merlian News. When she is not reading, reviewing, or dreaming about books she can be found playing with cats of all stripes at her quiet country retreat.