Prior to meeting Mark, my encounters with nature were few and unintended. One time a blue jay attacked my brother when he was going out the front door and he went screaming into the house. Unbeknownst to him there were some babies in the vicinity, but from that point on Mom always referred to them as "those gulldamned blue jays."
Mark has since informed me that birds like crows and blue jays are rather sophisticated creatures, and if you've ever had a hawk come into your yard you would know that those are the ones that alert the whole neighborhood of impending danger.
When he and Will were in Scouts they always came home with a bucket that contained everything from frogs, snakes, turtles and tadpoles.
I got used to it. It came with the marriage.
While the girls freak out over a spider, Will or Mark would scoop it up and take it outside where it would rather be anyways. I have long admired their appreciation for even the smallest forms of life.
Mark makes it his job to keep the bird feeder full especially in these cold months. "They've got it especially hard this time of year." he tells me as he vigilantly buys more seed.
In the frantic pace of December as I was going to buy a few gifts and grocery shop before a full week of work, I happened to notice a white hawk coming to rest on top of a street light. I had never seen a white hawk before and Mark later told me it was a male harrier hawk.
While the world buzzed around him he patiently sat in wait, and so I took note and stilled my hurried mind.
Lingering like the hawk during the season of Advent and wondering what is about to unfold before me.