Counting Hawks


Since I no longer have an obligation to be somewhere every morning and I can search for a job anywhere I can bring my laptop………..Starbucks, Whataburger………………………..my deck at the beach………………….

I drive a lot.

Waco; to see my diamond………………..then home.

College Station; to see my son and his sweet Jessie…………………..then home.

Yes, I have no sense of direction and yes, I get lost…………….

a lot.

But I still have to drive to get where I want to be……………

so I drive on!!!!!

For years now, the path I keep smokin’ hot is that path between the beach and home. As soon as I see Exit 829, my heart skips a little beat and I begin to feel the tension leave my body.

Texas 124 is a stretch of 2 lane highway flanked by pastures, marshes and not much else. This highway ends and takes a sharp turn to the right taking you along coastal highway 87.

I love this highway that runs parallel with the ocean and takes you through it’s sleepy, little coastal towns. It ends at the Bolivar Ferry landing; where I drive aboard the boat that takes me across the Galveston Bay and drops me on the Island I love.

It has been fun watching these little coastal towns and the Island, come back to life and rise above the ravagings of a devastating hurricane named “Ike”. Each and every time I look in anticipation; as I drive, to see what has been restored, replaced or built brand new.

It’s a long drive and the stretch on Texas 124 is boring; not much to look at and aside from a few animals that have met their demise………….including a couple of alligators…………there’s not much to see.

One cloudy day while traveling this stretch, I caught myself subconsciously counting……………………

What the heck am I counting??? Focus!!!!

14; drive a little further; 15………..

OMG!!! I was counting HAWKS!!!!

On the high-lines, on the fence posts and in the tip tops of tree limbs.

Seriously…………..HAWKS??

I can not tell you when I started counting them or how long I’ve been counting them. I just know I count them.

Once I realized what I was doing, I began to focus on these princely birds. They are lone hunters; sitting up high watching for their prey. Very rarely do you see two together. On a few occasions I’ve watched as one would swoop down and snag it’s unfortunate prey with it’s large talons and fly away.

I’ve also taken notice of the different sizes and appearances. These are beautiful birds. Ranging from light brown with spots to black with snow white breasts and bright yellow feet.

To see one of these perched on a fence post is AMAZING to me!!

At Christmas time during my whole Waco “lost” fiasco with my son and Jessie; as we are quietly driving along I tell my son; who is sitting up front with me; outa the blue……………

“I count hawks on the high-lines.”

He turns and looks at me with a most peculiar expressions and says, “And you do this…..why?”

Shrugging, “I don’t know, I just do.”

Shaking his head, “Humph. Interesting.”

Then I began to point them out to him; I can spot them hundreds of yards away.

“Wow; it’s a game for you isn’t it?”

“I guess.”

“You count hawks like most people count volkswagons (beavers) or outa state licenses plates.”

“I guess.”

A little while later he says, “I’ve never noticed before, but they are everywhere.”

“Yep. Aren’t they pretty?”

“It’s different.”

Just recently my companion and I jumped in the car; spur of the moment and drove to Corpus Christi for the weekend. We traveled a long boring stretch of interstate. Guess what I started doing??

You got it……………..counting.

Amongst our conversation I blurted out, “I count hawks on the high-lines.”

He to had a peculiar expression on his face.

“You what?”

“Count hawks. You think it’s weird don’t you?”

“Well………….for you I guess it’s not.” Smiling.

“Very funny.”

I began to point them out to him………… on the right, on the left, in the trees, on the street lights……………

“Man, you can really spot ’em can’t ya?”

“Yep. There a lone species and they are pretty.”

“Yes they are.”

Like most things, it became a challenge for him; who could spot one first and who could spot the most. It lasted a little while for him; but for me it lasted the whole weekend.

On our drive home we took a different route; a two lane, winding, country road with lotsa fence posts. On a couple of occasions my companion stopped so I could get a really good look at these beautiful creatures.

One hawk I remember in particular was huge!!! It was black with a snow white breast. It had long, black feathers on it’s head and they were blowing in the wind. It was holding tightly to the top of a fence post with it’s large yellow feet, looking side to side as if it were keeping watch. I remember it’s colors being so vibrant and bright and being able to clearly see it’s eyes and beak and thinking how beautiful and majestic it was.

It’s odd that I would have such a strange fascination for this feathered bird; you see I don’t like birds………………………..

they give me the heebie jeebies!!!!

All their loud squawking and wing flapping; I don’t want them anywhere near me.

Yes, I watched the Alfred Hitchcock movie; but that’s not the reason for my dislike………………

When I was a girl; we had two large oak trees in the front yard where I grew up. And in these oak trees lived a ginormous OWL, with a wing span the size of a 747. One night after dark, while walking up the driveway; this ginormous bird swooped down at the top of my head. Running, like I was possessed with a demon, it scared the hell outa me!! I thought it was going to carry me away never to be found.

After that, I never wanted to be out after dark. Period.

It was also during this time that one of my sisters had a cockatiel; the small, white, parrot looking birds. She would let this bird outa it’s cage to fly around. I would sit with my head covered with a blanket while it fluttered and flapped around me; the whole time she is laughing.

I hated it!!!

I don’t even feed the seagulls at the beach. I shoo them away as I walk.

So hence, my very dislike of birds and my confusion for my fascination with hawks.

Maybe it’s the majestic calmness they project or the quiet patients they seem to have.

Whatever it is and as peculiar as it may seem; I will continue to count these feathered creatures.

Each and every time I travel a stretch of highway I will be looking for the lone hunter as it sits on a fence post or the forever stretching high-lines.

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