So during one of my recent outings at the dog park, I noticed a hawk flying low and close to Zorro and me.  Zorro is a bird dog – he is always on the look out for birds and will stealthily work his way toward them before launching an all-out race to catch them.  He has yet to be successful in the capture, but he gives each attempt his all-out best in the hopes that this will be the time that he is the victor.  Another great lesson for me to remember: even if I’ve failed at past attempts, give 100% to the next try because you never know if this might be the winning effort.

Zorro and I notice the hawk and its rather unusual behavior.  The hawk was flying very low to the ground, skimming several feet above the grasses, and taunting Zorro to follow him.  Zorro obliged and ran full speed after the hawk as the hawk effortlessly glided in the lead and maintained a respectable (and healthy) distance.   After several hundred feet, the hawk soared above and headed towards the vineyards.    The vineyard this time of year is turning from its green hue to shades of gold and amber.  This is one of the popular times of the year to visit the vineyard given the natural beauty and breathtaking scenery.  The magnificence of the hawk in flight momentarily caused me to forget the vineyards as I was mesmerized by his flight.

I wondered if the bird was really a hawk and perhaps I had mis-identified him.   In immediate answer to my pondering, a lady approached me and asked if I had seen the hawk that had just flown by.   Another good reminder to be open to life and receive its answers from unexpected sources.  I told her that both Zorro and I had enjoyed the hawk and his unusual flying behavior.  She agreed.  While she acknowledged that she’s not an expert on hawks, she had never seen one behave in such a manner and hoped this was not an indication that he was not well.  I believe he was there to capture my attention and deliver a message; however, I did not share this thought with her.

As we continued our walk, the hawk returned from the golden vineyard.  This time, he flew to a haggard old fruit tree that I had just passed and he landed on the top branch – a bronze sculpture commanding the skyline.  I stopped, turned and quizzically looked at the hawk.  I changed directions and returned to the tree to see how close I could get to our new friend.  I looked up at him in wonder. He was beautiful, regal and mystical.  I was confident he had a message to share and wondered how he would reveal it.  He let me approach quite close and I could see the outline of his feathers woven into the beautiful shades of brown, tan and cream.  We held each other’s gaze and I stood in silent wonder.  He took flight as Zorro approached and the race was on.  My mind was soaring as I enjoyed the race of nature.  The race turned into a guide as Zorro lost interest to a higher priority grass that needed sniffing while the hawk led us around the park.  I knew this was a larger story than simply getting our exercise and I reminded myself to look online and research the symbolism of a hawk.

When we returned home, driving through crimson vineyards, I turned to my reliable research companion:  Google.  I Googled the symbolism of hawks and was fascinated by the results.  The hawk is a messenger, protector and visionary.   It is reported that the hawk’s keen vision is one of his greatest gifts.  However, my apparent gift from the hawk was his message – when a hawk visits you, the visit indicates that you are now awakening to your soul purpose, your reason for being here.  As teacher, the hawk provides guidance on how to fly high while keeping yourself connected to mother earth.  As I rise to higher levels, my energies are awakening and the hawk can help me maintain a sense of balance.  An insightful, and appreciated, message to be open to hope and new ideas, to extend the vision of my life.   Since the hawk is an animal of flight – he soars above, looking down at the world around him, which gives him a larger perspective of life.  From this perspective, the hawk teaches you to be observant; be aware of your surroundings; and to view life from a higher perspective.
I have a very deep love for animals – all animals. I have a connection to them that I appreciate and while it gives me great joy to simply love them, I tend to receive guidance from their presence in my life, including by when and how they show up.  So the hawk had me thinking about my purpose and my reason for being here.  I recognize that one of my gifts is writing.  One of my very recent goals is to write daily and as I’ve looked at this goal, I’ve wondered: what topics will I write about?  What will I have to say and what do I want to share with the world? I knew the hawk had some answers, or rather, was letting me know I had some answers available to me, perhaps I needed to freshen or broaden my perspective.

I was still pondering the hawk, his message and my life over the course of the week.  Zorro and I decided to take a hike at Westwood Hills a few days later.  I love this park, its steep hills and amazing views of the vineyards and the entire Napa community.  Zorro and I hiked up some hills, ran a trail, and then walked up a steep trail that ran alongside a neighboring vineyard.   When we arrived at the crest of the hill, the views were breathtaking.   Below us was the Napa valley, estates and vineyards.  Across the valley is another mountain range running parallel and bordering the east side of the slumbering wine town.  As we took in the views, we were visited by another hawk!  This hawk flew towards us and then very slowly circled and hovered directly above us.  I could see the distinct markings on the feathers on the underside of his outstretched wing – from dark brown closer to his body and then softening to tan, cream and white out to the tip of the outstretched wings.  I marveled at his visit and with his obvious intention to hang out with us.  He was following up with me – what had I learned? Had I changed my perspective to see the big picture from above? What did I see?

There is another aspect to the hawk that I discovered in my research.  The hawk’s distinctive cry signifies awareness.  If you hear the hawk’s cry, tune inward and check in with your intuitive abilities.  Trust yourself to reveal the message and seek the truth.   Suddenly, as the hawk screeched, I reflected on the week.  I realized my lessons were all around me.  Each time I venture out, I experience a lesson that gives life a new meaning or provides a new twist or simply reveals something to me that I had not known prior to my outing.  I saw the lessons in the dog park, in my hikes, with the hawks.  I realized I didn’t have to struggle to write; I had a well full of topics and valuable or fun lessons that sprout up around me on a daily basis.  I need only pay attention and share what I’ve learned.  I tell the stories in my head as they are unfolding – I have the opportunity to come home and allow them to unfold in my writings.  If I am learning from this experience, chances are good someone else may also learn from the experience.   And isn’t that what a writer does? Impart stories, information, experiences to others from which they can learn, grow, enjoy – add to their quality of life?  The answers had always been here.  I was asking the questions, but I needed to broaden my perspective and look at the bigger picture to find the answers.