In his book, Animal Speak, Ted Andrews discusses the role of Nature in the lives of our ancestors: “To them, every species and every aspect of its environment had the power to remind them of what they could manifest within their own life. It was an aid to bridge the natural world to the supernatural, awakening the realities of both within the environs of their own lives.” (Page 1.)

As I walk this path I find my connection with Nature grows. I first noticed this with birds. I’ve always loved birds. I had a pet parakeet, Whitey, when I was a kid. He would perch on my index finger and let me stroke his blue breast with the index finger of my other hand. We were buddies. I never lost that connection.

November 23, 2011. I went for a walk in a nearby park in the afternoon. As I left my house, a flock of Monk Parrots flew overhead. There were eight of them. They live in the Chicago area all year round even though they are not native to the area. I have seen them here in our snow-covered winters.  I believe they survive by living near heat ducts on the roofs of buildings. According to Animal Speak, parrots are associated with the power of color and light. They are also considered a link between the human kingdom and the bird kingdom. I didn’t know that at the time, but they could have been an omen to what happened next.

Moments later as I entered the park, they flew overhead again heading east. I walked into the deserted park and turned toward the pool. Suddenly I heard a piercing screech above, eeeeeeear. I looked up to the top of a tall light pole and saw a large bird. It took off, flew across the football field and landed at the top of a seventy foot tall oak tree. I stopped and looked up. As it landed it spread its redish-brown tail feathers and I knew it was a red-tailed hawk, like my power animal. As I walked closer, it took off, circled high above me three times, and flew away.

I confirmed my sighting using the “National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern North America”. Many months later I would read that the red-tailed hawk was associated with visionary power and guardianship, the element of fire, noontime, the direction North, and the process of creation (birth, death and rebirth). It is 20 inches long crown to tail, and has a wingspan of fifty inches. Ever since that day, I have noticed more and more hawks as I travel outside. I know they are common, but they always give me a feeling of a special connection with nature.

Next blog: A different hawk.