A hawk has taken to haunting our yard. It’s a strange thing to see such a large and wild creature within the limits of town. The sheer size of the thing fascinates me. I am drawn to him even though his object is the smaller more vulnerable birds that frequent our feeders. He is hungry, and much as I cherish my more ordinary feathered friends, I can’t find it in myself to begrudge him the filling of his stomach.
Noah is another story altogether. He views the birds as his especial charges and is infuriated at the sheer audacity of the hawk. One memorable day we came home to find the hawk on our very front steps, where he had strategically placed himself just behind one of the pillars. Out of view of the sparrows and snowbirds that came to feed there, he was still close enough to lunge should one of them innocently venture within his reach. Almost before I stopped the van, Noah came roaring out of its side door- shouting and waving his hands. The hawk startled and flapped awkwardly to the neighbors’ driveway where it perched on the roof rack of a large black truck. Noah pursued him there. The hawk uncertainly shifted his weight from foot to foot, turned his head to one side and fixed a large cold eye on this odd creature who was interfering with his meal. He opened his wings menacingly in an attempt to intimidate. But Noah was not to be intimidated. He jumped. He slapped his hands on the sides of the truck. He shouted, and finally the hawk decided that perhaps a retreat would be in his best interests after all. He opened his wings again, rose into the air and, without even pausing on a tree branch or telephone wire, took off for parts unknown.
We didn’t see the hawk for days… weeks even. But then one morning Noah awoke to the unmistakable scree-scree sound of a hawk on the hunt. He barreled down the stairs and out the back door. Fast he was, but apparently not fast enough for a certain poor little sparrow, and at the sight of bloody feathers in the rumpled snow, Noah’s resolve was steeled. No such predator would ever violate the borders of his protectorate again, oh no. Not if he had anything to say about it. Nuh uh.
Now, here in the Tomato Patch we come up decidedly short in the area of weaponry. What we do have an abundance of however, is craft supplies, lots of craft supplies. And clothespins and bead-string and such like. The girls made doll beds and puppet stages out of these sorts of things when they were Noah’s age. Amelia still raids the craft cupboard when she is creating little ornaments for her room or complicated origami journal covers. Millen forms the materials into placemats for the kittens’ dishes, and pretties up the boxes that hold her math manipulatives. Noah made a crossbow.
And by the back door this crossbow sits, ever at the ready. Loaded with a dowel sharpened in our school pencil sharpener. Its bow string is taut. I really don’t think that hawk quite realized he’d come up against a warrior. But I suspect he’ll find out very soon.