The cool, rainy weather of autumn brings with it a feeling of wistfulness, and oddly enough, at the same time, peace. Turning inside to discover who I am at this moment is always a good experience during this season. Perhaps it is because it is near my birth-time that I find this season so ripe for surrender. Every year, I ask myself, what is coming next in my life? How can I be open and present to receiving it?
American society takes us towards a celebration of Thanksgiving, which in my experience is often empty or contrived. Why would I celebrate the annihilation of our native peoples and the natural beauty of this wild land? It is, however, a lovely excuse to gather with those we love to enjoy a festive meal. When a request is made at the holiday table for everyone to say what we give thanks for it doesn’t feel very genuine. If there is a genuine response, I end up in tears (not a good way to start a large meal). Instead, I prefer to go into my Self and find my gratitude quietly on my own where I can look closely at the cycle of my life, the deaths and births, with complete honesty and surrender.
The natural cycles of life are quite apparent during this season. Just the other day, I had the honor of witnessing such a cycle in my own yard. A squirrel somehow got hurt (it seemed like it had fallen from a power line nearby) and pulled itself to lay hidden under a bush near the house. Over a period of two days, witnessed by my family and the cats, it slowly died. I was concerned about how to dispose of it when a large hawk appeared in the yard next to the pond. It had seen the dead squirrel and pulled it away from the house.
This gorgeous Red Shouldered Hawk sat patiently for half an hour over the squirrel, honoring the catch, as it peered left and right, forward and back. The colors of the hawk blended into perfect camouflage with the foliage of the yard. Eventually, I stopped watching for a few minutes and when I returned, the hawk was gone.
Two hours later, as I was sitting down for lunch, the hawk landed on the fence. After looking around calmly for threats, it jumped down off the fence. Much to my surprise, the hawk had moved the squirrel behind the birdbath near the fence and gone for its mate, who I now saw circling overhead. The hawk grabbed the squirrel in its feet and flew away, presumably for a family feeding.
The gift of the Red Shouldered Hawk is fitting for this contemplative time of year. The hawk is a messenger; one who gives us spiritual insight and the ability to fly above to see the larger picture of our lives. Hawk has clear, far vision and acute observation. This visual clarity can manifest in strong intuitive or clairvoyant abilities. Also a symbol of leadership, Hawk thrives by hunting in groups surrounded by allies and a lifelong mate. Hawk’s presence indicates the need for awareness and timing so that swift action can be taken when the time is right.
My gratitude this year is for the Hawk Presence in our world. A beloved guide that will lead me to the truth within my Self.