A funny thing happened just after I left the sushi restaurant where we celebrated @'s birthday. First there was an odd sound, just over my left shoulder. And then someone yelled from a car in the parking lot. I initially thought the driver had thrown something from the car, but his reaction made it clear that he had just seen something strange.
I looked to see what had landed behind me. A wingless pigeon. They don't fly very well. And their connection with concrete delivers an odd thwack-splat sound. What in the heck?
To my right, atop the light pole in the middle of the Lucky's parking: a hawk. Watching the pigeon, like, well, a hawk.
It's not every day you see a hawk in a busy strip mall. It's not every day you have a hawk drop its dinner over your shoulder. It's weird enough that it happened. But there's more. This odd happening happens to have happened on @ and N's birthday.
In 2007, on @ and N's fourth birthday, I got a tattoo of a hawk. N died an hour after he was born. And since that day, hawks have seemed to be far more present in the path of my daily life than they ever were before. I see them in unexpected places -- like my back yard. Perhaps they were always there and I'm just far more cognizant of them.
I like to think there are more of them.
Whether or not there are more of them in my periphery now, they remind me of N. They're a comforting presence. Watchful. Peaceful. Strong.
And so, a hawk drops his pigeon dinner fewer than ten feet from me on @ and N's birthday. Odd, yes. Clumsy hawk, maybe. But some little part of me likes to think it was some sort of gift from above. Literally.