Shake was a nickname I took on during my three months selling Vacations to Go. The company would only allow one of each name for its sales force so I had to pick a new one. Since I shake like a leaf due to a medical condition (not the DTs), Shake it was.
As I have been driving all over the country my eye has naturally been drawn to the flora and fauna along the road. The creature that has captured my imagination, and really always has, is the hawk.
To wax poetic for a moment, (and don’t take this as some expression of my huuuuge ego, which is not undersized, I admit, but in this instance is coming from a near inferiority complex), I see raptors, of which hawks are but one branch, as solitary, elegant, regal, strong, persistent and patient. Those of you who know the real me, know that I am none of these, except the first one. This is confirmed by the fact that I am an over the road truck driver and like it. I am especially NOT the last one.
I have observed thousands of hawks over the past six months. I have observed that they are all these things. To me the most impressive of the traits is Patience.
Most of the hawks I have observed have been elegantly perched, alone, at the top of a tree, on power pole, on a fencepost, in a bush, on a powerline, on a billboard, on a highway light pole. They sit quietly, scanning their turf on the lookout for their next meal. I rarely even see them move, unless they are trying to stay still in a big wind.
I have never been one to just sit and wait for good things to happen. And look where I am now.
I usually observe hawks perched alone. I rarely see them closer than half a mile apart down the road. I have witnessed what must have been twins sitting on the same branch, but looking in different directions. And once along I-80 in Iowa I saw more than half a dozen perched next to each other on fence posts. Must have been a polygamous Mormon hawk.
I have observed hawks jumping from their branches, alighting on their branches, and soaring.
I have observed hawks diving and clamping onto prey and launching into the air with prey gripped in their talons.
And while they may be patient, they evidently push the envelope from time to time because I have seen more than a few crumpled hawk carcasses laying by the side of the road. I’m guessing they get hit by my trucker brethren as they swoop across the roadway to nail a snack.
A quick digression: I have also seen thousands of crows, and while they lack the traits of the hawk, I don’t recall ever seeing a crumpled crow on the side of the road. They evidently take fewer chances and are overall more safety conscious.
To wrap up this little soliloquy, I admire the hawk. I admire it’s ability to find its perch, day after day, and wait for an opportunity / meal to present itself. I admire it’s strength, bearing, and persistence.
I am no longer Shake. I am Swohawk.