Thank God I’m a Country Boy 31412

I opened the door this morning and my hawk flew up from the driveway into a nearby Oak tree.  I say “my” hawk not because I own it, but because it lives here during the summer months.  I’m not sure where it goes during the winter, but south would be a good guess, giving as how they go where they want.

The hawk showed up a couple of weeks ago, while my wife was in Palo Alto, helping her sister move across the bay following her early retirement.  The hawk took up a position at the top of a Pine tree about 50 feet from the house, a good place to search the countryside for signs of prey.  For the past couple of summers there have been two of them, mates I assume, as one is smaller than the other.

They generally spend a good part of the day in one of the Pines, one or the other, sometimes both.  I’m sometimes fortunate to spot them when they have caught a squirrel or mouse or some other rodent.  What they do to them is about the same as my two dogs do when they catch a squirrel.  Soon there is little left but pieces, but the hawk does it not for sport, but for food.  A key factor in the circle of life that is nature.

It is at times like this that I get somewhat reflective of the life we all lead, especially the contrast between the city life in places like the Bay Area of northern California and the farm.  Farm life ain’t perfect, but compared to life in the city, it’s heaven.

I’ve visited that area, several times.  Each time I come away wondering why I went there in the first place and vowing never to go back again.  There you get to know the inside of your car, your house and your place of work.  People don’t walk the streets, that is unless they have a sincere desire to get mugged–or worse.  Any place those folks go is related to their car.  Frankly, you just don’t walk around.

Contrast that to where I live, about 12 miles from the nearest city in this valley.  I can walk to town, if the legs hold out, or around the neighborhood–all without fear of being mugged.

But it’s not just that you can walk around, but what you see.  In town you see houses and shrubs, not open spaces, cattle grazing in the pasture, sheep and goats, llamas, an occasional alpaca or a herd of elk.  I see the hawks, of course, but also the occasion  Eagle, geese, ducks, grey squirrels, horses and the coyote, sometimes a bunch of coyotes.

But more than the animals, I see nature at work.  I watch plants growing, tomatoes blooming and turning red.  Squash and pumpkins and leaves turning orange during the fall months just before the frost.

Thinking about those things–and thousands of others–make me glad to live where I do.  To be able to participate in nature, to be part of the whole of–well, something that folks in the city just don’t get to see.

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