Hollowed Trees

Rings, perhaps fifty or so thick, circled eachother, bark encrusted, each one enjoying the eternal great hug of the next as this old giant beast of a tree grew higher through the sky and tickled at the bottom of passing clouds. I wonder what those puffy whites would have told him, where they’d been, what they’d seen and done? He’s been here eternally, though would see more in his sedimentary lifetime than one generation of cumulous could hope to see even after crossing the entire continent.

Where those rings once held strong and the bark clung tight, now there is an empty hole. The tree itself has been hollowed out for years, mind you, having been woodpeckered or perhaps developed into condiminiums by the Local Squirrels Union, but for the part of my lifetime I spent watching the tree, it was occupied by a giant falcon, golden spotty backed and a wing span to shame even the greatest flock of pigeons. Aside from the tree, cozy behind my apartment, I’d seen the falcon in other places. Swooping down to land on a dumpster not ten feet from where I stood, waiting for the school bell to ring so that I could pick the boy up from his daily routine. Another time, soaring, straight and speeding, just inches above a spiked black iron fence a few blocks away from here, his feathers slicked back in the wind and his talons at times on either side of the wrought metal projectiles his flight flirted with.

And falcons, mind you, are huge. Particularly in comparison with the robins, pigeons and barn swallows that pull the vast weight of the local bird population. When one comes near you, shrieking his claim to the skies, you can feel it in your bones a hearty thump. Every time I saw him I would linger, watching, waiting, what would he do; half in wonder, half afraid of invoking the slashing combination of his feet and beak.

But today, the falcon was laying on the ground. Cold, dead, over. I only got so close, partly wondering if this was just some strangely flattened crow or perhaps a different bird all together, but no such luck was looking to strike for me or my neighborhood bird.

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