Nov 24, 2006

Slow... View Ahead

As you come up the narrow dirt road to the hill of the hawk, there's a small square patch of old plywood nailed to a post with the warning, 'slow... view ahead'. But you could read it differently and you probably do because by the time you see the sign you see what's beyond it, the beginning of the view — the sign is no more noticeable than a period on the page of the Oxford English Dictionary. As your eye records the sign, the mind will discern the true syntax, "Slow view... ahead." From this distance, up on the bluffs, the Pacific is more than simply the sea, some body of water extending beyond the horizon. This is all ocean, all male, earth mama, as big as a starry sky... The slow view slows, as if to say, 'don't worry about life and death, this IS what's ahead and it will take care of everything.'

Later, we went for a walk along the bluff, the three of us, and sat down off the path, lay back and shut eyes. Heather did a wonderful thing; she said nothing. Which comes from living in such a place. There's nothing to say, because after all you take a slow view of life. Then suddenly a shadow passed, and with it the sound of something whirring. Eyes open and banking 10 yards overhead was a condor, that gigantic flying machine with those totally modern wing tips, like long fingered hands for ailerons. The bird kept banking, and then suddenly there was another and still another. They were all over the place, this most exotic and still endangered specie. Finally, one lighted on a fence post a dozen yards away. It had a number on his wing, like race horses carry on a saddle or old time race cars with the number in a circle. This was an oval shaped white marker with a three digit number. The bird stood proud, head moving like an eagle's, surveiling the scene, and yet you had the sense this was something that was more than curious, that wanted to make distant contact, the way you would with something strange but familiar. In fact, the birds live up on the coastal range and with all the efforts to get them out in the wild and breeding again, they still have an affinity for the specie that first shot them down, then rescued them, then protected them, then tried to get them airborn again.

We watched. It was an amazing thing. And then we walked on, back to the slow view sign, and back down the hill.

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