Hawk Medicine: Signs. It’s A Language & It Means Everything

“From where I stand now, the terrain has already changed dramatically. Here, there are no props for performance. The people I once felt compelled to impress are ghosts from another life. The external markers and guideposts have fallen away. In this world, growth is only possible through continual patience, by following a curriculum of unlearning, and by owning the truth arising from the silence: I am no longer the same. We live in a culture that wants things done before the idea is even fully formed. Our need for instant gratification is evidenced in our addiction to outcomes and the co-dependency between our sense of value and the external validation we receive. We are intolerant of what takes time, what goes deep, and the things that allow us to grow. But only within the sacred ground of waiting can any meaningful transformation take root.”

Kristen Roderick

A few days ago, I stumbled upon a treasure. Not the shiny metal kind that you might exchange for goods and services…or rob a train for.  Something  far more precious.

It was during my regular trail run through a wild open space preserve area. I was only 30 seconds into my warm-up when I heard high pitched whistles circling overhead from all directions. Recognizing the sounds instantly, I stopped dead in my tracks.

Two adult Cooper’s hawks were circling a small grove of old giant cottonwood trees. They were dive bombing at high speed through the branches and gracefully  landing on some of the outer branches. Mesmerized, I allowed myself to be pulled into the scene.

I was rewarded with an aeronautical display of dramatic take-offs, impressive wing spans at glorious heights, and final descents as the pair would land in opposite trees away from the main center tree. I quickly discovered a perfectly constructed nest placed at the highest stable point in the center tree. The adults were employing tactics to divert mine and Freya’s attention from the babies. This went on for quite awhile until I noticed the hawk’s stress levels were rising.

Grateful for the encounter, we ran on. My feet hitting the dirt in rhythm to my breathing. Piercing hawk calls kept ringing in my ears and I suddenly found myself thinking,

“There is only NOW. There is only the PRESENT.”

The mantra repeated over and over in my mind in tune with my breath and my thoughts seemed to elevate, becoming loftier. I noticed my body felt lighter and the constraint of obsessive thoughts that had been plaguing me were easing.  The previous days had found me wrestling over and over with trying to validate myself based on other people’s perceptions  or what I believed to be their perceptions. Things were getting very convoluted. And I needed a new perspective. MY perspective.

  I vowed to visit the hawks the following day on my next run.

Motivated, I set my alarm for sunrise. I was excited to get back out to the hawks. With camera fully loaded and ready, Freya and I once again headed to our sacred terrain. The family was busy! Already extremely active. They were soaring and calling. And now there seemed to be 4 instead of 2. I wondered if perhaps these additions were juveniles, older siblings perhaps that had appeared to help with the chicks.  Taking turns they would fly into the nest delivering morsels of sustenance to the new members of the tribe!

I must have circled their domain at least 3 times, following, watching, listening, striving to get that great shot. They were playing with me. At one point they all disappeared and became silent! Intently, I walked softly and stealthily, seeking, but finding nothing.  Standing in the shade quietly, I reviewed a few of the photos.  AND THEN,  like a a weird horror movie where the ghost appears directly behind you, I looked over my left shoulder and a mere 5 feet up in the branch was what I had been looking for. So close and so silent, he watched me. He allowed me to move a little closer, viewing through the lens, until I crossed his boundary and he sent out a tail feather wag and whistle warning.

Only then did my “seeking” cease.  Sitting in the shade graciously provided by the big ‘ole cottonwood trees, I let out a huge sigh. Relaxing, I let go of the ambitious photographer determined to get the perfect image.  That’s when I raised my gaze and noticed one of the adults had landed in the branch above me. She surveyed for a moment and taking my cue, nestled down into a spot to preen her feathers. Overcome with such joy that she felt comfortable and trusting enough to let down her guard in my presence.  I had passed the test.

It is medicine I will have to remind myself of daily :

“Sometimes the incessant seeking and determination keeps everything moving in so many directions, the core gets scattered and begins to come up with distractions. Anything to keep us thinking we are in control and creating safety around our most precious vulnerable parts. But, truly it is when we relax, incorporate patience and simply take a moment to breathe, does what we seek nestle up close and invite us in for a deeper more intimate look.”

Hawk medicine is far reaching and vast. It’s essence lingers on long after the initial injection of truth.  A high flier with sharp vision, hawk will continue to appear in various ways to remind us to ask important questions, such as

” What exactly am I looking for? Can I hone it down? Get Specific and focused?

Where am I now?

What is here?

What do I see?

Is there anything here that I need or want?

Is it a threat?

Or is it nourishment?

Is it friend or foe?

A week later I got to practice this medicine. Driving home I noticed a sign. It was in the style of ones used around town when they are filming movies or television shows in the area.  However, this particular sign was new to me.  Usually they signs simply say “PG” or “GM” but NOT…….


How could one NOT follow the arrow? Curiosity got the best of me. So down the road I let the Subaru roll on, imagination running wild…like a child ya know?

Things like…

what if I come across a movie set and they want me to be the star! LOL.


more realistically, what if I just find another clue or even maybe an answer to one of my most pressing life questions.


what if I randomly meet my long awaited TRUE SOUL LOVE!

aaaaaaahhhhhhhh…the imagination such a beautiful and unbridled thing.

What did I find instead?

A 360 degree view for miles and miles and miles with none of the above in it. Just a vast, ever expanding, never ending landscape of rolling desert hills and tundra paired with mile high blue skies reaching far beyond the horizon.  Clouds worthy of an impressionistic painting intentionally marched from West To East.

Nowhere in this land full of soooo much potential, was there anything representing what I was looking for.

I am sure there are days, that this is the hawk’s view. Hungry, hunting relentlessly and not a single sign of what it desires.

Therein lies the magic. Sometimes that’s all there is. Spaces where nothing has landed or shown up as you desire.

The message being.

“KEEP JOURNEYING ON! DON’T GIVE UP! Keep going! Follow the curiosities, say “YES” to exploring, questioning and living. “

The positive side to this particular space was the scene did not have any UNWANTED things lingering around. It was literally an empty canvas which can sometimes be equally uncomfortable. A place where visions are so vivid and magnificent in the mind, but the worry can be about creating something that doesn’t do the vision justice or come close to what was imagined.

Accepting this space of unlimited potential is the most exciting place to be. Nothing holding you back, WHERE ANYTHING & EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

Now all that is left to do


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