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“Hawks from Heavens” by Shane Brown


“I like to watch hawks. I like to watch them sail and flare over the pasture, set their wings, glide. Maybe I love them so much because they are so wild. Nothing touches a hawk, not fear, not compassion, nor weather, or man.”
-Larry Brown, On Fire

I was standing on the front porch at Billy Ray’s one afternoon last week with Heather and Paula and some friends.

His house sits above his front pasture with dairy cows roaming and resting on the grounds while waiting on a calf to be born. The view is wide open with brown sage grass and tight, old barbed wire fence. Below that view reaches a county road you can cross with a rutted soybean field that edges the Yocona River and a tree line that etches it for miles.

We are all laughing and talking when I look up and point. A hawk is gliding, soaring across the front pasture. They know I love hawks because of Dad. They know the hawk reminds me of him and him talking to me; well at least in my mind that’s what seeing a hawk means.

I don’t care what anyone else thinks of them. Especially not the person on the porch I’m sitting with who thinks that the hawk is looking for a calf to poke its eyeballs out with its beak to eat and that it needed to be shot. That hawk wasn’t doing that. The hawk was only passing through, keeping me believing in what I’m doing in life while staying focused and positive. I watched the hawk fly until he disappeared out of sight. I know I will see him again soon. I always do.

I see hawks often now, since Daddy has been gone. Maybe I just never paid much attention to them before, but maybe I have, what I think, is a spiritual connection to them. I can ride down I-55 to Jackson to pick up my kids for the weekend and I see them on every trip. I’ve seen eight of them in one drive back home with my children. I see them when I am riding a backroad alone, with Heather, a friend, or with Billy Ray deep in Lafayette County woods.

They swoop down in front of my truck’s windshield then climb back up into the sky. Or I can see them high in a tree top. I look to see if they are looking at me. One of the last men to leave Dad’s funeral watched a hawk lift from the trees covering his grave and fly away as the final adjustments were made that day. I have more experiences than just those. I smile when I see a hawk and often say hey.

I read some words from Ina Woolcutt the other day on her description of the spirit of the hawk. This could be her own thoughts or some Indian tribal tale, but for me, it could be powerful and meaningful and heartfelt. She said the hawk’s gift is its clear-sightedness, that it is observant, and that they have messages from the universe. A hawk can be a guardian, recall a past life, bring courage and wisdom and also make you see the bigger picture. Creativity and truth, along with experience, overcoming problems, magic, focus, and a wise use of opportunities were told as gifts of a hawk too.

I got notified today about the launch party by Yalobusha Brewery Company that has created a Larry Brown Ale on behalf of his name. I’ve known about this event, but I didn’t know the exact date from the Brewery and my friends at Delta Steak Company. The party date was released today: February 20. I love how something just comes out of nowhere and swoops down in front of you and then soars…

I’ve been looking and thinking about a story to write this week when Heather asked me yesterday to write about a hawk. I didn’t really know what to write about until I heard about the party for the new ale coming out for Dad. I read tonight where the hawk is a protector and a vision. Especially if it’s a red tail hawk that I am to be aware and work toward fulfilling my soul’s destiny. I like to watch hawks too.

Shane Brown

Shane Brown is a HottyToddy.com contributor and the son of noted author Larry Brown. Shane is an Oxford native with Yocona and Tula roots. Shane is a graduate of Mississippi State University. He has two children — Maddux, age 9, and Rilee, age 7 — and makes his home at “A Place Called Tula.” He can be reached at msushanebrown@yahoo.com.

Copyright Shane Brown, 2015.

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