Wassail, traveler, and welcome to The Gable Grey -- a place of retreat, of renewal, and of resistance: a tree-shaded refuge in Dark Times. Now pass the threshold, and rest from journeys! For a cold wind is blowing; and here, if you wish, you may hear tidings of the world without...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Year of the Hawk

Got my hawking gauntlet last week! Nice brown calfskin, full-cuff. Northwoods shipped it rather unceremoniously in a plastic bag within the box. I say "unceremoniously" because this strikes me as a rather noble item, symbolic of an ancient art and way of life... but however it got here, it is here now, and I get a small rush every time I put it on, imagining a big red-tail or Harris hawk perched on my gauntleted arm.

It was with that and much else in mind that I cleaned out the shed today, making it ready for the mews. In my head it is no longer "the shed" now, but "the mews." Next I'll need to purchase a bow perch. But the mews, excepting making the small shelf area into an enclosed cabinet, is essentially hawk-worthy.

When I was in my tweens I was often taken by my mom and stepfather to his parents' home near Knoxville, Tennessee. We usually went during spring break, so it was usually on the cool side in those Appalachian foothills, and the land was still mostly somber greys and browns. One morning, beginning our drive east towards Great Smoky Mountain National Park, we passed on one of those twisting country roads a tall man, who carried a huge hawk on one arm. Now I'm sure my mental image of that hawk has increased in size somewhat in the 20+ years since then, making it eagle-sized; but there can be little doubt as I look back that it was a big female RT. I've always dreamed about being a falconer since then. Now, at long last, that dream is slowly coming to fruition.

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Whiles carried o'er the iron road,
We hurry by some fair abode;
The garden bright amidst the hay,
The yellow wain upon the way,
The dining men, the wind that sweeps
Light locks from off the sun-sweet heaps --
The gable grey, the hoary roof,
Here now -- and now so far aloof.
How sorely then we long to stay
And midst its sweetness wear the day,
And 'neath its changing shadows sit,
And feel ourselves a part of it.
Such rest, such stay, I strove to win
With these same leaves that lie herein.

-- William Morris, from
"The Roots of the Mountains"