Posted by: MC | March 15, 2009

Hawk Sightings

PA Rte 6 W
Allegheny Mountains


I have a thing about hawks. It’s part ornithological (I mean, what cool raptors). It’s part romantic/poetic (their metaphorical range is considerable). And it’s no doubt part mystical. The mystical part could be embarrassing from the perspective of ‘woo woo’ attributes since I tend to take their appearance as very good signs.

If circumstances are dicey or uncertain in any way, the appearance of a hawk, especially on the wing, is for me an omen that clarity and good resolution are on the way. Oddly, that reasoning seems to help me accept almost any outcome as good, whether it’s what I thought I wanted or not.

I guess I knew hawks were everywhere in our country – this likely from info of the ornithological variety. Nonetheless, I’ve been surprised how often I’ve seen them in the skies of my last 41 days.

Hawks over LA. Hawks in the sunset between CA and AZ. Hawks over Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico.

There were hawks over the hillcountry of Texas and then again in Mississippi – really, hawks over the highway in MS – can’t say why that surprises me, but it does.

There were others in between, but today I saw two pair in as many states. One couple circled above Long Island early this morning. The other pair lifted from the crossbars on a telephone pole into the sky of New Jersey and very near a sign that read, “The country’s cheapest gas.” $1.92. Wonder if I should tell them about Atoka, OK. $1.87.


Gas was well into the $2+ range in Suffolk County on Long Island. I’d heard the Jersey claim on a radio program sometime in the past 3 days, so I had planned to wait whether NJ boasted its alleged distinction or not.

From Long Island, I navigated a dizzying contagion of Parkways disguised as Interstate Highways and made it back to the George Washington Bridge…the span I’d crossed into Manhattan three days earlier. By the time I got into Jersey, I was near giddy with the persistent appearance of the letters “W – E – S – T” beneath the numbers on the highway signs.

Aaaahhhh. Headed home.

The rest of the day took me through considerable topography. Older, more worn down than the Rockies I’ll cross later. Ancient and beautiful starting with the Delaware Water Gap – a stunning rise in the landscape at the beginning of what I later figured to be the Pocono Range. Then through Jersey and Pennsylvania farmland complete with comfortingly enormous barns – red … the most comforting part, of course.

Soon I was passing the spot on I80W (…yep, WEST) with the sign reading, “Highest spot on I 80W East of the Mississippi.” Four modifiers would seem to make this geographic entity a pretty insubstantial thing to note, but it made me smile. A real Interstate Highway sign—one of those green ones—our tax dollars at work. Actually, as I’ve thought of it, the expenditure seems worth the attendant adorability level.

Now I’m in the forested hills of NW PA. Breathtaking! And about to hear a forester speak to the idea of Change. Stay tuned.

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