The peace of wild things

I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. —Wendell Berry

While out in the field with his German short-haired pointer the other day, my friend discovered the carcass of a hawk hanging from the top of a chain-link fence. On closer inspection it appeared as though the bird had recently expired, still clinging to the wire with one clenched talon. The breast plumage remained fluffed and airy, and brilliantly streaked in the afternoon sunlight.

My friend gently pried the closed talons from the heavy wire and nestled the hawk’s remains into a bag, thinking to bury it when the ground softened.

Early this morning at the back of his garage we lifted the hawk from its burial shroud and spread its tail and wings out on the tailgate of his pickup. The carcass measured 41 inches from wingtip to wingtip and 18-½ inches from head to tail.

Even in death the bird retained some degree of its former majesty, as these photos attest.

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