On the Wings of a Hawk
by JoAnne Dodgson, Ed.D.
author of Unleashing Love, MoonDance Journal, Walking the Spiral Path, Gifts of the Grandmother, and Cocooning.
Kyla found her way to the dirt path that encircled the meadow at the edge of the woods. She looked to her left and looked to her right, unsure which way to go. As she stopped to catch her breath and ponder her decision, she noticed a shadow moving swiftly across the tall swaying grass. She looked up toward the sky to see who it belonged to.
“Hello,” Kyla brightly called out to the hawk, delighted by the sight of the magnificent bird.
“Hello to you,” said the hawk, soaring by.
“What's it like up there?” Kyla asked, admiring the way the sun lit up the hawk's wings and red tail feathers.
“It's incredible,” replied the hawk. “Beautiful winds. Spectacular views.”
“Hey, can I ask you something?” Kyla called out, thinking quickly on her feet. She realized that this was a great opportunity to get a second opinion. “There's something I'm trying to figure out and maybe you can help me.” Kyla was suddenly distracted by the fear of what he'd think of her if she asked a dumb question. She cleared her throat, delaying for a moment while she silently cheered herself on to be brave and take a chance and just ask.
“Well, it's about the in-betweens. I hope you don't mind me asking. Oh, wait, just a second.” She interrupted herself again, this time to get her sweater arranged as a cushion on the ground. She sat down, preparing herself for the lengthy lecture she expected to come from the hawk.
“Well, I'm not sure how to explain it. But it's like I'm swimming around in the mud. I'm trying hard to change. I want my life to be different. But I just keep getting stuck in old ruts. I don't want things to be how they used to be. I don't want things to stay as they are. But I can't figure out how to get where I really want to go. So what should I do? What would you do? How do you cope with all the in-betweens?” Kyla looked up toward the hawk, anxiously awaiting the answers she was counting on.
The hawk glided back across the meadow and circled above the woman sitting on the ground. “What's an in-between?” he asked.
Kyla was surprised he didn't know. She shaded her eyes from the sun as she looked up toward the hawk, figuring out how to explain. “Well, let's say you're flying up there in the sky and you see something down here that you want. So you dive toward the meadow. See what I mean? You're not where you used to be anymore and you're not where you're going-to-be yet. You're just somewhere in-between. In-between up there and down here. In-between seeing what you want and actually catching it.”
“That's passion,” the hawk explained, tilting his wings to meet the winds.
“Passion?” Kyla frowned, squinting up at the hawk.
“Yes, passion. Focus. Clear intent. That's what it is,” said the hawk.
Kyla was taken aback. “But don't you see? When you're somewhere in between where you used to be and where you're hoping you're going to end up, you might not ever even get there. There's so much that could go wrong in between seeing what you want and actually catching it, between knowing what it is and really having it in your life. You could be looking in all the wrong places. What if your vision isn't clear and you miss it? You could be heading in the wrong direction or going at the wrong time. What if you never ever find what you're looking for? Or worse yet, what if you find it and then realize that it's not what you want after all?”
Kyla stopped abruptly to catch her breath, embarrassed by the flood of her emotions. She timidly glanced up toward the hawk, looking for reassurance. But all she could see was a big empty sky. All she heard was thundering silence.
Kyla was afraid she'd upset the hawk. She desperately hoped he would come back. She waited awhile. It felt like forever. Frustration and worry paced back and forth in her mind. Eventually, she picked up her sweater and brushed off the clinging blades of grass, grumbling about how she couldn't keep on waiting around wasting her time.
Kyla drove home disappointed and distracted, leaning out the window every chance she could get, looking in the skies for the winged one she secretly hoped was trying to find her too. As she slowed down to pull in her driveway, something compelled her to turn off the blinker, cruise right past her house, circle around the cul-de-sac, and head back toward the meadow at the edge of the woods. Kyla smiled when she realized she had no logical explanation for what she was doing. She just knew something was calling her back.
Back at the meadow, Kyla jumped out of the car and ran through the sea of tall grass, firmly telling herself that no matter what happened, no matter how long it took, she was going to stay until she saw the hawk. Finding the soft dirt trail, she circled around the meadow once, and then twice, keeping an eye on the sky. The third time around, her pace began to slow. Her mood began to drop. Her determination faded into disappointment. Maybe it was really time to go home.
She started walking toward her car, taking a short-cut across the grassy field. As Kyla moved through the meadow, she lightly brushed her hands along the tops of the tall swaying grass. That's when she noticed a shadow dancing across the field. That's when she looked up in the sky to see who it belonged to, feeling apprehensive and hopeful all at once. That's when her heart skipped a beat.
“Hello,” Kyla called out warmly to the hawk overhead. She shaded her eyes from the sun so she could watch the hawk soar in the brilliant blue sky.
“Greetings, my two-legged friend,” he replied.
“What have you been up to?” she asked, trying to sound composed.
“I've been soaring,” explained the hawk. “It's breathtaking.”
“Well, I've been waiting,” Kyla said. “Waiting for you to come back. Waiting and and worrying, that is. It's been stressful.”
“Kyla untied her sweater from around her waist and placed it on the ground so she could sit down. “So now do you see what I mean? About the in-betweens? All that waiting and worrying and not knowing what's going to happen. The in-betweens are really not very much fun.”
“That all depends on what you're filling them up with,” said the hawk, circling overhead. “If it's fear and stress that consume your attention, then that's all you'll see. And that's all you'll hear. And you'll end up convinced that you're stranded and stuck.” The hawk glided by on his elegant wings. “The truth is, my friend, you can fly.” “Oh, really?” Kyla smiled, thinking the hawk was teasing her. “So, tell me,” she said, deciding to play along, “how can I fly?”
“Follow your passion,” said the hawk.
“Follow my passion?” questioned Kyla. She sat silently perplexed, considering what he'd just said. “But how am I supposed to do that?” she finally blurted out.
“Open up your vision,” said the hawk as he gracefully landed on the top branch of a towering pine. “Gather up your attention. Hone in your focus. Go after what you really want. Seek it out, with passion, with steady clear intent. Bring into your life what it is that nourishes you. It's your journey. It's your quest. So choose.”
Kyla climbed up on a smooth flat boulder to get a better view of the hawk. He had a powerful presence perched there in the branches high up in the tree. She watched him gracefully take flight and soar, so uninhibited, so unencumbered, so very much alive. She watched him glide on the winds, with such freedom and grace. She loved to watch him fly. And he seemed to love it too. Soaring around, just being him. That's when she knew that's what she wanted. That's how she wanted to feel. That's when she felt her own potent desire to be free.
“Are you sure I can fly?” she called out to the hawk across the meadow.
“Free yourself from the boxes that cage you in,” called back the hawk as he glided over the treetops. “Spread open your wings and soar. Feel your radiance and ride on the winds.”
Kyla stood on the rock, reaching out with her arms, feeling her hunger to be vibrantly alive. The hawk glided by, whispering in the winds. “Open your vision and hone in your focus. Go after what it is that you really want.
Unable to quiet the doubting chatter in her mind, Kyla looked down at her feet and lost her balance. Her arms dropped heavily to her sides. She turned to the hawk where he'd landed near the top of a tree. “Are you really sure it's okay to have what I want?” she asked, her hands on her hips, her voice echoing old wounds from the past.
“Confusion and self-doubt will only clip your wings,” said the hawk as he took flight from the tree. “Remember what you know, underneath all the fears, beyond all the expectations. You can fly.”
Kyla closed her eyes, facing toward the sun, feeling the warmth on her skin. She turned into the wind, slowly and elegantly lifting her arms, stretching them out wide open. Her spirit lifted up into the expanse of the brilliant blue sky. And there she stood, in the middle of a meadow, on top of a rock, soaring.
And how she soared. Until the shrill cry of the hawk called her back. Kyla gently circled back around and sat down on the rock, feeling the fire of awakening inside.
“That was awesome,” Kyla beamed, looking up at the hawk.
“That was you,” said the hawk to the woman on the rock.
“That was me?” she asked, not quite ready to accept the idea that something so beautiful had something to do with her.
“That's you,” repeated the hawk, gliding above the meadow. “That's home. That's where your freedom lives. That's where love flourishes. That's where your truths thrive.”
The hawk flew swiftly around the grassy field. “Going home to yourself is how you get free. You can fly anywhere, anytime. Just remember. And choose.”
“I can choose?” Kyla was surprised.
“You can fly,” said the hawk, gliding by. “Follow your passions,” the hawk called out as he coasted along the shrubs where the meadow meets the woods. Kyla gracefully circled around on the rock, mirroring the hawk's flight around the meadow. She watched him float in the air and dance with the winds, circling around the sea of tall grass. He flew across the border of the field and disappeared, blending into the woods.
Kyla jumped down from the rock and dashed toward the trees, not ready yet to say goodbye. She ran across the meadow, moving swiftly through the tall grass, her senses open and alive, seeking and hunting. When she came to the place where the meadow meets the woods, she stopped to listen and look, alert to any signs of the hawk. Standing in the stillness, Kyla sensed that the hawk had flown on, that he was somewhere high in the sky, soaring. Feeling a mix of disappointment and exhiliration, she headed toward her car when suddenly she realized she'd forgotten her sweater. She changed directions, walking slowly back toward the rock, not knowing at the time that there was something other than the sweater that had almost been forgotten that she was on her way back to reclaim.
Somewhere along the way, Kyla's walk shifted from a meditative meandering into a spontaneous treasure hunt. She stopped to take a closer look at colorful leaves and interesting stones, delicate flowers, gnarled branches and plump berries, gathering up what called to her. When she came upon her sweater lying on the ground where she'd left it, she placed her overflowing handfuls of items on the cottony fabric, figuring she could tie up the sleeves to make a knapsack. But as she sat there admiring her earthy pile of momentos, her attention kept getting drawn back over to the rock. She looked down at her treasures, then back over at the rock. Down at her treasures, then again, over at the rock. Suddenly a clear knowing came from somewhere deep inside.
She carried her cherished items, one by one, to the rock, and gently arranged them on the very place she'd once stood soaring. Stepping back to admire her creation, she was delighted by the sight of the circle of stones surrounding the bird she had made with wings of fiery red leaves, the body a black oblong rock, the head a sun-dried piece of wood, facing the direction Kyla had last seen the hawk. She breathed in the beauty of her loving memorial, her offering of thanks, honoring the hawk and the meadow and all that happened there. Kyla picked up her sweater, clinging blades of grass and clumps of dirt and all, and walked home through the sea of tall swaying grass.
Copyright © 2007 by JoAnne Dodgson
JoAnne Dodgson, Ed.D. is a healer, teacher and medicine storyteller in ancient Peruvian medicine ways, Ka Ta See.
She has a doctorate in counseling psychology and over twenty years experience offering counseling, ceremonial gatherings, holistic healing and workshops. JoAnne lives in the enchanted desert mesas of New Mexico.
JoAnne's writings include medicine stories and five books: Unleashing Love, MoonDance Journal, Walking the Spiral Path, Gifts of the Grandmother, and Cocooning.
Stories by JoAnne Dodgson
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