Wednesday, January 14, 2009

back in the sun, but still cold

Added note the Second:

I just walked down the back path with a huge wheelbarrow, squeaking and groaning, when I spotted something flap one time. I stopped and looked and it was the red tail, sitting in the woods. I thought it might be hurt. I squatted down and just looked at it, and we shared a long gaze. Then I went through the very back fence (which is not our horse fencing but the outer fencing, barbed wire) and it allowed me to get just 3 feet away. I squatted down again and we both just sat there, gazing some more. It was gorgeous.

Four crows were flying back and forth overhead, cawing away, and then the hawk looked at me, looked down, took up a squirrel it must have just killed, and flew through the trees and away. The crows went crazy, and another red tail went after them while the first one flew off with the squirrel.

I was speechless. What a day!


Added note:

When I was out just now extending the hay trail, I was looking around wondering where the red tail was. Just at that moment I heard the call, from above, and looked up to see THREE of them whirling in big circles overhead. Which is, by the way, pretty much exactly what happens in the final scene of this book.

The synchronicity of nature and animals never ceases to amaze me. :)


Late in the afternoon yesterday the sun came out, and just as the brilliant sunset began to light up the sky with bright blue and deep orange, the horses decided to have a party. I heard the hooves from the big barnyard, thundering up the hill out front, and looked up to see Keil Bay in full gallop, followed closely by Apache Moon, and then Cody.

Salina had wisely gone to the corner to stay clear of the geldings, and Rafer Johnson, being the incredibly intelligent donkey that he is, wanted to run wild but also wanted to stay safe, so he galloped up to the dirt paddock and had his own little rodeo, circling and bucking and braying. Redford was torn between guarding Salina and joining Rafer's show, so he trotted back and forth between the two.

I heard the red tail calling after everyone had settled down, and followed the sound to the front field, where it flew up to a low branch and settled there to watch me and the horses for what felt like a very long time. Another red tail call was coming from the other side of the house, which makes me wonder if they've built a nest and perhaps the one is on guard. There haven't been red tails this close since we moved in, so I'm curious and especially intrigued with their presence now.

Today is more sunshine, and cold again, with the temps dropping over the next two days to a low of 11 on Friday night. I've ordered a new blanket for Salina, who has been alternating between her lightweight (and not waterproof) fleece and the older mid-weight blanket that has a ripped lining thanks to Cody. She prefers the fleece, but when the temps drop this much it just isn't enough, so she has a new Schneiders' coming, and I sure hope the UPS van gets it here so she can wear it Thursday night and on through the day/night on Friday.

I have more editing to do today, and just remembered that the final scene in the book involves red tail hawks. Maybe they've come to shepherd me through this edit - and hopefully spread some of their visionary magic across the pages in the process.


Grey Horse Matters said...

The cold weather coming may have made them act up a little more than usual. I hope Salina's warmer blankets get there on time. We've been hearing weather reports for Thursday too, we'll be hovering around 2 degrees, how lovely for everyone.

Wonder if the red tails have come to shepherd you
through the editing involving their namesakes. That would be very cool.

billie said...

Arlene, we'll have to have a group warming meditation on Thursday/Friday!

AnnL said...

Oooh, that's neat about the hawks. I love red-tails and hope they do nest at November Hill with you.

I hope Salina's blanket arrives today. The bitter cold is coming in.

billie said...

I'm trying to get a photo of the one red-tail I'm seeing almost daily.

No worries if the blanket doesn't come - the old one still works and I can put it over the fleece to make it really warm for that 11 degree night.

But I think the new one will come today or tomorrow!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Wonder what the hawks are trying to tell you?
Now that you've practically given the end of the book away, it must mean good luck and they don't want you to edit that part out. Maybe they want to be the famous red-tailed hawks from November Hill. They're dreaming of being in the movies too, Ill bet. Just kidding.
Hope they hang around for a while.

billie said...

Ha! They are definitely on the scene for now, that's for sure.

jme said...

i love the geldings' antics, and especially rafer's 'own private rodeo' :-)

hawks are amazing to watch... there was supposedly a bald eagle nest here on the farm before we moved in, but i haven't seen any yet. they must be back further in the swamp, if they are there at all...

i admit i'm a bit of a jungian, so i can't help but think the appearance of the red tails is some kind of synchronicity... maybe they are the connection you need to finish your edits or have come as guides to let you know you're on the right path :-)

billie said...

LOL - when I saw the quote in your comment, 'own private rodeo,' it made me think of a movie possibility:

My Own Private Rodeo, starring Rafer Johnson.

I'm a total jungian, so I tend to walk around in constant amazement at all the signs and symbols and the continuing synchronicity in each moment. In one way or other, all my novels explore that theme, so it makes it even more exciting when these things happen.

If there is a basic message, I suspect it is for me to persevere with these novels. In various writers' forums you tend to read a lot about the hurdle of getting an agent, which is big one, for sure, but what doesn't get talked about much is the hurdle beyond that one.

I have had two agents and can get another one. The next hurdle is selling a literary novel in the current market, which is even more difficult now than it was when I first started this endeavor.

I will never stop writing the books, but life is so full here I do have to find the energy to keep working toward getting a book deal, with a big house, b/c that's just my personal preference. (i.e. not self-publishing, not mass market paperback)

I'm sure there is deeper meaning and it sinks in on a more unconscious level, but on the surface, these birds are keeping me energized and excited about putting work "out there" and not giving up the hard cover dream. :)

jme said...

ha ha! i would totally watch any movie staring rafer johnson!

i can't imagine the struggle involved in getting a novel published, and i can't say i understand much about the market for literary works these days... i do know i am an avid reader but i can't remember the last novel i really enjoyed, so i'm hoping the market will change and allow more unique and interesting voices to get out there and be heard! so, good for you for sticking with it and not giving up your dream. i'm looking forward to reading it in hardcover!

billie said...

Thanks, jme. The difficult part, as I see it, is finding not only an agent willing to work hard for a "tough" sale (i.e. literary fiction) but who also happens to LOVE the book in question. A few ducks have to line up in a nice row for things to go all the way, it seems.

As a writer, the hard part is to know when to move on rather than persist with one particular book.

I loved the red tail with its meal, caught with skill and tenacity and not left behind when faced with a big upright creature it probably views as a predator. The metaphor of all that was not lost on me. :)

billie said...

Ann, your comment went to another post, but I think you were meaning the added notes on this one, re: the red tail, which I know is one of your favorite birds.

I was in awe too. It was such a gift to get that close, and be part of what must be a very important part of the hawk's life - catching, protecting, and eating its prey.