My father told me once when I was small that seeing a red-tailed hawk was a sign of good things to come. I saw a red-tailed hawk today fly low over my head, carrying sticks for its nest. As the bird flew past and I craned my head to watch it slip out of sight over the treetops, I was reminded of a time when my world was less complicated.
There were days I used to lie on my back and make shapes out of the clouds. There were days I believed the animals really did talk and there was wonder in the world as I lay in the cool, damp grass. In those moments, I could close my eyes and become someone else. A superhero. A celebrity. An Olympian.
Now, I have to work at it. I have to meditate and push out the noise like I'm holding back the swelling tides. I have to force myself to sit and stare out at the water and NOT think, not worry, not run around and try to accomplish all the things I think I am supposed to.
I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about who I am and what I want out of my life. Sometimes I ask too much of the people I love, and of myself. I push everyone, including me, to the limit, and it seems nothing ever satisfies me. Why is it that I always seek perfection in every one and every thing when I know perfectly well that perfection doesn't exist? Sometimes I can be stubborn, and pensive and angry when things don't go exactly as I've planned.
I look back at pictures of me when I was younger and I wonder if I am the same person that I was in those photos. I'd like to think that I am as much of a dreamer now as I was when I was 11 or 17 or 22. When it's all said and done, I want someone to say at my funeral that I reached for my own stars and maybe caught one or two.
Today, I looked up the meaning of a red-tailed hawk. All these years, I believed in my dad's silly superstition without questioning it. Today, I learned above all else that my father is wiser than I ever give him credit for.
Here's what I found out about the hawk:
In the Native American tradition, the red tailed hawk carries the roll of visionary and messenger. It is a symbol of illumination and peace. This special friend offers a path to channel direct contact with hidden wisdoms and insights. It further teaches us to be very observant of these insights and wisdom, the treasures offered by Red Tailed are sacred and of a higher calling. We are asked to show precision and a sharp mind in our hunt for wisdom along our path.
Red Tailed Hawk’s Power is further represented by the beautiful red color that comes with maturity. This is a reminder that wisdom takes time and is not something that is given, the wisdom of Red Tailed Hawk is something that must be earned.
In the Celtic tradition, Hawk empowers a person to seek out their ancestral roots and to examine in depth that which is positive so that it may be integrated into the person's life and that, which is limiting so it can be released.
In the Egyptian Tradition Hawk was associated with Magic and shape shifting. Isis is said to have shape shifted into a Hawk to save Osiris. Horus also carried Hawk medicine which allowed him to see the “unseeable.”
Among Native American traditions, Hawk served the role of Mercury, bringer of messages and portents of change. Hawk reminded the people they needed to be awake and aware.
Lessons learned on this day: All things are connected. Dad is usually right.
All these years, I've never had trouble sleeping. When I close my eyes and drift off, I can imagine anything is possible. I can still leap tall buildings in a single bound. I can still hit the jumper at the buzzer to win the game. I can still believe that all the secret wishes I hold in the deepest corners of of my heart will come to be. After all, they have to. I saw a red-tailed hawk today.