A Walk and a Gift

The afternoon clouded over, the wind came up and Bear let me catch her. For a little while we escaped the noisy summer traffic on the 160 and headed out to the Big Empty where the only traffic this time of year is birds and bugs. The wind was blowing a storm into the valley so neither birds nor bugs were clogging the immense skies.

Both dogs behave differently when they are each alone with me. Teddy stops every 20 feet or so for a hug. Bear, on our return, walks close beside me with my hand on her back. Here she’s leaning against me while I take this picture. I love walking with her.

I saw a Red Head duck for the first time. His little head bobbed like an old time police car light above the pond’s choppy waters. Most exciting of all, of course, was the dramatic motion of the front as it tried to figure out where it really wanted to go. Some place in the San Luis Valley got rain, but not us. Still, the clouds are trying to figure it out, and lightning is complication of summer storms since it starts fires.

Finally we had to go home (rats!). As we neared the parking lot (I parked near the entrance in case it started thundering and lightning I could make a quick escape) I looked down and saw I had been left a present. I picked it up and studied it, pretty sure I knew what it was. As we walked the remaining few yards, the wind would try to pick up the feather and it would try to fly; it is that amazingly designed for flight. I wasn’t letting go.

At first I thought it was a left wing feather from a bald eagle, but turns out it’s a feather from the left wing of a Harris Hawk. The tip is a little worn which makes me think it’s been off the bird for a while.

The underside of the feather

26 thoughts on “A Walk and a Gift

  1. I love this post. I could feel your sense of calm out there with Bear in the Big Empty. The sky is amazing!!! Now, that would make a fabulous painting.

    • I already painted it 😀 I realized that when I got home and looked at the photos. I was thinking, though, a storm cloud triptych. I’m always happy when I can get out there with Bear. We can just stop and stare into the immensity. With Teddy that’s impossible. He doesn’t understand stopping and staring at a landscape. I think Bear actually DOES get it because she taught me to do it back when my hip was bad. “Look over there, Martha, in the trees. Elk!” That was the moment I learned it. Hundreds of elk were in the trees by the river. ❤

      • I think a storm cloud triptych would be amazing! Ophelia doesn’t mind when we stop and she can sniff the air and look around. Perhaps it comes more natural to them as they get older to pay more attention to the environment around them, kinda like us.

  2. Those are gorgeous storm clouds 00 how fun that you had already painted them! And I love the gift you were given — how fascinating that each feather has that much flying power — no wonder that an eagle can fly, then, with a whole body covered with such power!

        • I think so. I was watching a movie about the bomber before the B-52 and one of the characters described something just like that. The back of the feather, on the inside near the shaft, the filaments are stuck together kind of and shiny. I’m sure that’s for improved uplift. I love watching all the raptors but watching the eagles hunt over the cranes is something else. I’ve seen them lift almost straight up on a wind current.

          • I need to get out in nature again soon! The weather should become summeery in another week or two, which is my best time here for nature walks!. ‘I’ve never seen an eagle fly, although I understand there is one which has been keeping watch over a tree across the road from my house — there are crows nests in the tree, and every once in a while the crows all become agitated and fly around the tree, protecting the nests.

            • I saw bald eagles in the Cuyamaca Mountains, fishing. They like more open country and the few years after the Cedar Fire there were more than there had been. Mostly in Southern California I saw hawks — Red tail hawks (which I love) and Red shouldered hawks and Black Shouldered Kites, all wonderful, wonderful, wonderful flyers and each one just a little different.

              I hope you can get out there soon!!!! ❤️

              • I saw lots of bald eagles in Alaska when I traveled there — they’re easy to spot with their white heads. And I see hawks, but mostly sitting on phone poles or other high places just watching by the agricultural fields (probably quietly hunting). I’d love to see them flying!

  3. That sky is beautiful. I can almost feel and hear the low rumble.
    The personality of animals is just wonderful. Sweet little Teddy…I can picture him stopping every 20 feet and saying, “Do you love me, Martha?” Twenty more feet, “How ’bout now?” Twenty more feet, “Still?” I love both your dogs, but Teddy just brings all the feels to the surface for me. 💕

    • I did more research and now I think it’s too short to be an eagle feather and it’s probably a wing feather from a Harris Hawk which makes sense since I’ve seen them out there lately and I haven’t seen eagles out there in four months.

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