September 2, 2012

The Hawk is Dying But Not in My Backyard

Canadian Writers
Yesterday afternoon, while sitting in the back gardens with Sandra, we watched as a small sparrow hopped from a nearby tree branch onto the ground close to us.

A common enough event that neither of us gave any remark of its passing. In fact the event itself is only remember because of what happened next.

A hawk, lean and fast, tore talons-first out of the sky and landed right where the sparrow was a moment before. It did not catch its prey, and perhaps was surprised to find us sitting there, jaws agape, watching. No eye blinked. And then, with a silent movement of wings, it took off back into the sky.

I was reminded of a film I watched several years ago with Paul Giamatti, called The Hawk is Dying. A gloomy, slow film which was more a character study for bottled up angst and obsession (often Giamatti's go-to card) than anything else. Giamatti provides, as expected, a remarkable performance. He carries his character's weight with great physical embodiment.

I've heard Ken Loach's Kes is much better at using the medium of falconry, but I haven't seen it.

Still, the steady gaze of the hawk in our back yard, the stubbornness of it - something else to behold.

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