There are two red-tailed hawks in the air over campus. You can hear them as you walk through the Pine Grove – their screams enough to make even the most paltry autumn mysterious again. You catch your breath, you stop, you turn your gaze to the top of the highest maple, and you watch them dance with the rays of the afternoon sun. Gold on feathers, on glancing talons, on open-beaked defiance. Gold shivering to fractured radiance by their piercing call, reflected off the brilliance of the changing leaves. And somehow your world, that had fallen into shadows and worry and regrets, is raised with the intake of your breath to unblemished, holy joy.
Later you walk with a friend through the trembling light of early, rain-washed evening. There is a cry, and suddenly the great birds are plummeting. They soar, swoop down, fly low over the grass and frighten a group of girls walking by. They grace the rigidity of a building’s brick eaves – momentary statues carven of power, fluid and fatal. Confident in their authority. And then off again, chasing down the wind, a languid leap from building to tree, hidden in the pine boughs, grasping the thick branches with a strength that is too easy. Disturbing the bright-stained leaves of a young maple nearby with the beaten wind of their passing. You spread your coat and sit in the damp grass, you and the sister of your soul, your faces turned up together towards the haughty poise of these creatures so high above you in so many ways. The hawks cry and you lean together, two children still caught up in the wonder of the thing, of the ageless beauty you have discovered. The hawks cry, and you hear in their voices the echo of Faerie.