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It is winter. Even in California, the air is icy and the rainstorm we have waited for all year clatters down. This morning, a respite and the sun emerges between downpours. As I pull the bedroom shade up to let the light in, a hawk the size of a well-fed racoon is busying about in a gully. Doing what, I am not certain, but likely, at this early hour, something to do with breakfast.

I hitch the window shade cord to its cleat, watching the creature all the while. It is a funny feathered thing, hopping around on the ground. But then, behold— it snaps open magnificent striated wings, spreads formidable talons wide and lifts in slow, authoritative thrusts to air— now, an illogically lithe, commanding beast that vanishes up into the trees.

This transmutation. Aren’t we all capable of it? Oh, lord, let it be.


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