The Healing Hawk

The big blizzard of 2016 has finally melted away into the pavements and parks of New York City. Yesterday’s rains made efficient work of washing away the last remnants. The January storm really was a doozy. One for the record books. I had two modeling jobs cancelled and, instead, got more upper body workout from one afternoon of snow shoveling than I get all year 😛

But friends, I haven’t been feeling well lately, and I just wanted to let you know. I haven’t been blogging as frequently, or as joyfully, as I normally do. I apologize. You find yourself sliding helplessly into a hole, trying to process various forms of disillusionment, isolation, and frustration with both family and friends, and then the prospect of pulling yourself out of the hole feels like scaling a 500 foot wall … without a rope. At least I’ve managed to pull myself out of bed and get to my modeling jobs, where I’m trying my best to pose with some modicum of enthusiasm and vigor.

The “Snowpocalypse” did provide a magical moment of awe that is still bringing me a sense of peace and comfort when I recall the sight. The day after the storm (which is always a beautiful day, have you noticed?) I decided to take a walk around my neighborhood. It was bright, all brightness: bright white blanket of thick snow, bright clear blue sky, bright light reflecting everywhere. When a storm system passes away after doing its damage, it’s like everything opens up, stretches its limbs, and affirms its existence in the aftermath – we’re still here, we’re alive, we survived! – the trees, the houses, and of course the people, the people who can finally emerge after hunkering down indoors for  36 hours. Now it’s people shoveling snow, neighbors chatting and commiserating next to their buried cars, teenage boys zipping down the streets on snow buggies, groups of bundled up children toting sleds to the park. It was near that very park around the corner from my house that some wild movement at the top of a pine tree caught my eye. I looked up and it was a red-tailed hawk, knocking batches of snow off the branches as it landed down to perch. The sight of that handsome hawk made me so happy, and I stopped in my tracks to observe and enjoy him. He hung out for a minute or two surveying the area and then took off, spreading his impressive wings, revealing his markings, and flied away slowly, confidently, gliding over our park in northeastern Queens, like he was king of the kingdom.

It probably sounds corny and cliched, but experiences with nature, however brief, can truly do wonders for one’s state of mind. It has quite the restorative effect. Why do you think that is? Maybe because they are creatures completely removed from the worries and anxieties we humans deal with? I feel like that’s part of it. I envy animals and wildlife because they don’t give a damn about any of the shit we stress over. They function in harmony with nature’s patterns and rhythms and their innate God-given purposes. Their lives are all about survival and simplicity and existing in their “space”. No traces of discontent, no traces of inadequacy or complications, no personal standards that can’t be met or impossible quests for “fulfillment”. Two weeks later, I can still see, in the vividness of my memory, the form and physique of that hawk against the bright blue sky of that Sunday afternoon. I can still see those batches of fresh powdery snow tumbling down to the ground from that high pine tree branch when the hawk landed. And I can still see that same branch bounce up and down, like a diving board, the moment the hawk pushed off to take flight …

Goshawk Hunting by Bruno Liljefors:

GoshawkHunting

Wildlife sightings are always welcome here on Museworthy. If you’ve experienced any cool critters or special nature moments this winter season, please share in the comments 🙂

13 thoughts on “The Healing Hawk

  1. artmodelandrew says:

    “experiences with nature, however brief, can truly do wonders for one’s state of mind.”

    I agree.

    There’s a book called The Nature Principle, in which author Richard Louv refers to Vitamin N. I haven’t read the book, but I like the metaphor implying that nature is an essential nutrient for our health.

    There is also research suggesting that simply going for a walk is good for our mental acuity.
    http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/walking-helps-us-think

    • artmodel says:

      Andrew,

      I recall reading that New Yorker piece when it came out, and I’m glad you linked to it here so I can read it again. Need a refresher! The Richard Louv book sounds interesting too, I might check that out. And to top it all off, there’s more snow in the forecast for this week! So it looks like I’ll have more opportunities for peaceful snowy walks around the neighborhood. Maybe the hawk will return for another visit 🙂

      Thanks for your comments!

      Claudia

  2. scultore says:

    I am afraid my state of mind has been similar to yours, the effort seems huge to overcome but once I start drawing, it gets better. Nature works as well. We get sparrows taking dust baths in our window boxes and it never fails to cheer me up.(the cats like them too!)

    • artmodel says:

      Bruce,

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re having a similar struggle. But I know you turn to art as an antidote and that’s excellent. I might do the same thing! And the sparrows provide cheerful entertainment for sure. I have a bird feeder hanging right outside my bedroom window and watching them calms me a great deal. Lots of blue jays lately.

      Thanks for your comments!

      Claudia

  3. Lynn Kauppi says:

    So sorry for your misery Claudia. I’ll email you very soon.
    Lynn

  4. Bill says:

    Nature, art, music . . . they can all heal. I think that the real essence of this is the underlying beauty. I think we can get hung up on the idea of reality being sordid but, when you encounter the beauty in that reality, when you encounter the red-tailed hawk (or whatever form that beauty chooses to assume at that moment) then it transcends that sordidness. The things that are pulling you down don’t disappear, just as the moon doesn’t disappear during the day. But the sun simply overwhelms it.

    And remember, even when you return home to whatever challenges you’re facing, the hawk still flies.

    • artmodel says:

      Bill,

      Such beautiful comments, thank you! The “real essence” as you described it is exactly right. The stark contrast with “reality” – as in the realities of human lives, our stresses, struggles and aggravations – makes that essence even more enchanting … and, yes, healing. This is why I sometimes can’t understand people who don’t appreciate, or pay even momentary attention to, nature and animals. Even right now as I type this, I am calmed by the sound of the wind rustling through the bushes and trees outside my kitchen.

      Thanks again, Bill 🙂

      Claudia

  5. Dave says:

    I went on a cross-country ski trip in Yellowstone last month, and I had a series of close encounters with bison on the trails. They are awe-inspiring creatures. I also saw some elk, bighorn sheep, coyotes, and foxes. There really is something special about observing wildlife in winter.

    I hope you feel better soon, Claudia.

    • artmodel says:

      Dave,

      I am envious! Seeing Yellowstone has long been on my “bucket list”. I’ve never been, and it bothers me. Your wildlife sightings are marvelous! So glad you shared. Bison are so cool! The bighorn sheep must have been wonderful to see as well.

      Thanks very much for your nature observations and your kind wishes 🙂

      Claudia

  6. Something to cheer you up . . .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s