Raptor Rapture


looking down at my feet walking, through the squeaky crunch of the cold white snow, nose too busy with tingling to sense any aroma; the squish of cool mud, each step waking up those wonderful smells of everything pushing up out of the soil and reaching for the sun; the whisper swish of warm grass & dandelions, each breath filled to overflowing with green and sweet; the crisp rustle of sepia leaves, each footfall a cacophony, a symphony, and the scent of wood & loam as they drift off to slumber for a spell. through all this i see my shadow along with the shadow of a hawk flying over me, with me, casting our silhouette over winter, spring, summer & autumn.


since i was a little girl i have enjoyed this recurring dream. do you have recurring dreams? i love when i have them, 'tis like a long lost friend paying a visit, catching up & reminiscing. i always wake from it with a peaceful smile, feeling hugged. this dream awakened in me a realization of my connection to hawks and started me seeking them out wherever i go (and perhaps vice versa).

eye contact
Friday, August 3, 2007
on my evening commute home, a 30 minute drive along twisting turning beautiful country roads i had an amazing encounter. 20 minutes into my trip a red-tailed hawk flew in low across the road about right in front of me. no matter how many times i see one of these remarkable creatures, they always take my breath away! i caught my breath and wondered aloud, "what is your message?" (native American belief is that the hawk is a messenger).
it would seem that i got an answer about 5 minutes up the road. there was plenty of traffic as is the usual case on a weekend near woodstock. i spotted something in the road ahead of me. as i approached i noted that the cars were driving over, not running over it, as it was in the middle of the lane, so the bodies of the vehicles passed over and they disturbed it so it was made to barrel roll back and forth with the "wind" they created.
closer now, and i see that it is clearly a bird, seemingly lifeless as it rolls under each passing car. i want to stop, but there are overly anxious drivers behind me and in the opposite lane. i pass over and immediately check my rear view mirror, it stands up! it is a hawk!!!
i immediately put my hazards on & pull over. i would like to say that i thought fast, but i am not sure that my mind had anything to do with it, it all happened so quickly, it could be that my pounding heart was the guiding force.
i went to my trunk, pulled out two of the cloth bags that i use for carrying my groceries. i placed one on each hand and walked over to the young red-tail. there he sat, looking up at me, right into my eyes. i knelt down, keeping eye contact the whole time and gently scooped him up, fierce talons, formidable beak and all, into my make-shift mitts.
we maintained eye contact, i talked gently to him as i walked back to my car, my heart pounding in my ears. was i even breathing? his stare was so powerful. i placed him on the bags on the floor behind the passenger seat.
back behind the steering wheel, i drove the rest of the way home, on my cell phone desperately trying to reach a wildlife rehabilitator friend. i feel him staring at me the whole time.
once in my driveway, i get some work gloves out of the house and lift my fine feathered friend out of the car.
the hawk and i settle on the back deck where i place him down gently and try to examine wings and legs, oh so carefully. he is very tolerant, still looking right into my eyes. without any warning, he stands, stretches his wings and glides gracefully into the woods behind my house.
what an exhilarating moment! "he's okay!", i cheer.
the story continues: he appeared around the yard, waking me with his hawk cry every morning at 7AM for months and often there was the sound of another hawk responding. when i went for my walks along the reservoir, just up the road from my house, Ii would often get the feeling that someone was watching me. when i surveyed the trees at the water's edge, i would make eye contact with a young male hawk. a few times, as i walked along, immersed in my own thoughts, a young red tail would swoop back and forth across my path, taking my breath and heartbeat with it. was this " my" hawk? good luck convincing me otherwise!


i have a little ink, here & there. each piece acknowledging some rite of passage/ struggle & triumph. the idea of getting my third tattoo took hold of me one day while driving home from grocery shopping. a voice inside said, I think it's time to acknowledge recent hurdles, some jumped, some stumbled over. it is time! (cue lion king).

and now i am consumed with the idea of ink. but what?
then, just as i was about to drive past the local parlor, who should fly right across my windshield and land on the white line just before the shoulder.... i'm not saying this was the hawk i rescued, but it was definitely a messenger.
his message? "duh! you are getting hawk ink silly human."


beadwork ornament/ adornment = inspiration, homage & reverence


w.i.p. beaded red tail hawk feathers with an oh so apropos fortune


a well feathered nest: hand beaded red tail hawk feathers with pearls allsorts and a lovely vintage metal button clasp with double plume motif

karin alisa houben hawk feather necklace photographed by Michelle Merle Pace

in my tribe: well feathered nest necklace & earrings as imagined by the life is but a dream talents of

Michele Merle Pace 

model: Charity
oh such a wonderous & wonderful collaboration, full of magic & whimsy, more on that soon....