Many years ago, every morning, my grandfather would walk the grounds of our family property on Six Nations. Papa was the caretaker of the land that housed our ancestors for generations, and remains in the loving hands of my family today.
One day during his walk, he heard a meek chirping coming from the blowing, tall grass beside him in one of the fields. He investigated the sound, and soon discovered a baby hawk lying on the cool, shaded dirt. It’s wing was broken, and it chirped in desperate fear for it’s Mother.
Gently, Papa scooped the abandoned chick from the ground and shading it from the hot summer sun headed back towards his main tool shed. There, he made a small comfy nest and recovery area for the broken winged baby, making sure there was always water and food in abundance.
Slowly over time, the hawk’s wing healed and the baby chick was a more mature bird of prey. Then finally one day, Papa took him into the field where he had found the helpless bird and watched him fly away above his head. However, that hawk never really left him. He flew off, but never flew too far away. It claimed the fields of our land as it’s home, and stayed near Papa at all times.
He said the hawk was his old, lifelong friend. Protecting him and keeping an eye from the sky.
Recently, my travels brought me down South to Nashville, Tennessee. During the 12 hour car ride I kept noticing something interesting and warming. In the sky on every interstate, in every town or city, I could see hawks — floating like angels on the wind. It’s almost like they’re doing the same thing that Papa’s hawk did for him: they’re keeping a watchful eye and protecting me on my journeys.
My Papa was a man who was terrified of flying. But I can’t shake my head at the idea that these aren’t just hawks, but in fact him — Gord himself — flying above me. A man afraid to fly taking the form of a hawk, conquering his worldly fears as a higher evolved being in his next life. Shapeshifting from birds to dragonflies or butterflies…but always watching from up in the sky. Protecting and watching the path ahead.
When I allow myself to believe that it’s him: Gord, my Papa, I can feel his presence. It’s just like he’s sitting right beside me, pointing to the sky and telling me a story about a baby hawk with a broken wing that he nursed back to health.
That’s how he comes back to life. That’s how Gord takes the shape of the hawk. He flies free above his scattered family, protecting all under one giant umbrella of a hawk’s eye view.
It’s true — wherever I go he is right there with me.