Not So Solitary

hawksLast week we took a much needed couple of days away at some family property in the country.  As we drove up the gravel road, two birds flew low above the car.  We originally thought they were owls; brown and tan in coloring, large wings.  It was majestic the way they flew and soared through the air.  I watched them go, then was distracted by the fact that I had to stop the car so as not to run into the house; you know, the little things.

We unpacked, got settled, and came out to take stock of things on the deck.  It was then that my husband noticed the birds again, this time alighted in a large tree about 100 yards off.  This particular tree, unlike the rest of the forested area, happened to have no foliage on it for some reason, so they were markedly easy to spot.  Not owls, we now realized, but two hawks of some sort.  My husband pulled out his spotting scopes and mounted them on the deck table so we could all take a really close look, which ended up being a fantastic idea.  They were beautiful, and amazing to watch.

What was most interesting was how fascinated I was with them even though they didn’t do much of anything.  They sat a lot, looked around a lot, one flew off with a loud cry while the other stayed.  But I was completely transfixed.  They seemed almost magical, for some reason.  So serene, so unaffected in their quietness.  It was like a meditation just to observe them.

The second one eventually flew off on a mission, so we took its cue and went off on one of our own, exploring for a while as well.  But later, as dusk settled in, so again did the hawks.  Same tree.

Before, they had been apart from each other, in different parts of the tree entirely.  But this time was interesting; they were on the same branch, quite close in proximity, almost like they were sitting together intentionally.  They stayed like that for quite some time, very still, not really even scanning around them.  It made me so curious; were they family?  Companions?  Mates?  Communicating in some way?

Eventually, one flew off, but the other remained.  I watched it for as long as the light would allow; it was still there, the last we checked.  My husband pondered if that was perhaps their roost.  For some reason I would have thought they would roost somewhere more sheltered (as if I have any kind of intimate hawk knowledge).  But maybe?  For some reason I have always thought of hawks as a solitary bird.  Maybe it’s because whenever I see them, I only ever see just one.  But our sighting certainly changed that theory.  These two clearly were a pair, and it was so beautiful to have had the opportunity to watch them together.

As the light finally faded, I found myself hoping that tree really was their roost, and they would be there again the next day.  Only dawn would tell…

Put Away Your Scalpels

Tonight I went walking with my daughter.  It was great to be outside; strolling in the sun and the breeze.  It’s been some time since I’ve felt myself really move, felt alive, watched her laugh and live beside me.  I would have missed out on today as well, if not for a little white lie.

This morning I had an appointment with my dermatologist.  Just a regular checkup, though it seems like my checkups are never really “regular”.  I am blessed on my father’s side with a large Irish bloodline.  This also means I am somewhat un-blessed with very fair Irish skin; pale, burns easily, lots of moles.  I very frequently have irregular moles removed.  Almost always, they end up benign, and we’re good to go.  This past April, however, was my 3-year cancerversary.  Having a melanoma removed from your thigh at 37 is an experience, let me tell you.  So I take my checkups seriously, and when my doc sees something he thinks should go, I listen.  But today was different.

The reason?  I have just come out of the other side of one hell of a migraine cycle.  It was basically an entire month of pain, grouchy wife/momma, weekends trying to rest, meds, early evenings, rinse, repeat.  It happens; you take it a day at a time and get through it until it fades.  But while you’re in it, it’s crap.  There’s no way to sugarcoat it; it just plain sucks.  Not only for me, but also for my family.  It’s draining on all of us.  My husband carries the extra weight, my daughter (age 7) has to give up her Momma to this mystery ailment she can’t see or fight against, and I just try to endure while my body depletes until I feel like there’s nothing left for anyone let alone me.

Since I’ve rebounded, the last several days have felt like a cloud has finally lifted.  My energy has started to return, I’ve been able to exercise again, I’ve been enjoying time with my girl and my family, I’ve just been able to breathe.  So today when my doc said he wanted to remove another mole (from the top of my foot, no less, inhibiting my mobility for a couple of weeks to heal), I was surprised how my logic voice of ‘probably a good idea’ was so loudly drowned out by my inner spirit screaming out “NO CUTTING!!”  All I could think was ‘not today; not now; I need more time to feel good, more time to breathe, more time in between hurting and being the Mom who can’t play on Saturday because she’s trying to heal, more time to be human and whole and just….ME‘.

Thing is, I didn’t think I could explain that to my doc without sounding like a raving loon.  And at that point, he was already readying the scalpel and lidocaine; I didn’t have a lot of time.  So I blurted out the only other thing that came to mind.  “Uh, I have a wedding to attend this Saturday, and I think there will be dancing.  Is your concern level pretty high on this one?”  Not very smooth; but it worked.  He said it was only a minor concern, and that as long as I had it taken care of within 4-8 weeks, we’d be fine.  He then said it was probably better to enjoy the dancing and nice shoes without the foot incision, and to have fun.  That smarted a little more than the cut probably would have, but don’t fool yourself thinking I spent a lot of time dwelling…I hightailed it out of there as fast as my mole-covered legs would take me.  (After responsibly scheduling my return appointment for 4 weeks out; I’m not completely throwing caution to the wind here, people.)

I will say I fully enjoyed my walk this evening.  Guilt free, headache free, even if it wasn’t mole-free.  I’ll hold on to this one for a little while longer.