Sunday, April 24, 2005


As on this evening I sat on the deck watching the sunset over the Lake, a farmer was tilling his lower paddy with a mechanical tiller, taking long slow sweeping passes over the surface of the swelling water (deep tilling in water is no fast process), and there on the verge of the upper paddy sat a dozen hawks, who never ever flock (the most you ever see is two together, and they’re in love).

This was partytime bigtime, so the multihawks sat there in the fading sun watching hawkeyed as the farmer stirred their supper, yet arguing among themselves over the best vantages whence to first spot what the farmer turned up with his tilling, the farmer paying as little attention to the hawks as they to him - which is in the natural way of things and much to be recommended – would that humans did the same.

Then when one of the hawks spotted something tasty from bug to frog it would swoop on big wings regardless of the machine with the man in it and snatch the morsel from the watery earth - making amazing exceptions to the basic hawk rule, to life-and-death avoid any motion that particularly involved humans. When successful, the hawk would fly up to a convenient tree or telephone pole (whichever was more convenient to the delicacy) to have dinner. When one hawk swooped, laggards would follow, as hope always does, but the genuinest hawkeye would have it, every time. (There is a big lesson there, which I will perhaps delve into if I live long enough).

Now, at the end of the long feast - i.e., it’s too dark to see and the farmer and the hawks have gone home - the surviving frogs in the already plowed upper paddies are singing the night as if it were their own. And it is. They’ve made it this far.

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