Saturday, November 1, 2008

Where Hawks Run

"You should take a walk and go see the place down the lane," my husband said.

It was my first visit to Ohio to meet my husband's family. It was a few years before we were married and it was a bitter cold December day. Having lived in Florida for five years I was up for anything involving cold. While he had something to attend to, I bundled up and set off across the fields towards the lane. All along the west side of the lane are trees, shrubbery at first but this soon gives way to dense wooded ravine. The view down the mile long dirt and gravel lane is thus somewhat concealed until you reach a point half way down. At the point half way down and looking East the view is of three large lakes scattered about the setting. Everything is much more visible in winter when the leaves have fallen to the ground. A small creek begins at this midpoint running from the East to West, travels under the lane, and spills into Hall's Creek some miles away. Coming up the small hill from the wooded ravine revealed yet another lake to my west side and a huge old barn directly ahead. From this vantage point, the road appeared to run straight through the huge barn doors and out the back. Two more lanes branched out from this main road, the one to the East towards a smaller barn and the one to the West to a pretty home way off in the distance. As I neared the big old barn I could see just part of a weathered structure off to the West but it was clouded in a sea of evergreens. To the northeast of that was a large group of tall willowy Locust trees. I pondered the grouping of evergreens and realized that what I was seeing were years and years of Christmas trees that had been planted out. Their varying heights and species gave little doubt. As soon as I passed the greenery, the house came into view. It sat just opposite the barn across the lane which I could now see jogged around the barn and continued North. Yet another lane jetted back out to the East. I didn't get that far on this walk because the house had my full attention. A three story saltbox with eight over eight windows and the silvery hue of wood only time can create sat nestled in a grove of trees. From the main road, there was no way that you would ever know it even existed. It looked well cared for but had that mysterious aura about it that said that it was unoccupied much of the time. From this moment forward I began a love affair with the saltbox. The setting of this one was incredible as vast views stretched from both the front and rear of the structure. Never in a million years would I have believed that day that in eight years time this setting is the place I would call home. I will never forget the first visit back to the property in November 2005 right after we had signed all the papers. My husband and I were driving away from the house to the airport so that we could return to Florida as we were not yet able to move back to the Midwest. My heart was heavy and I didn't want to leave the place. I had learned that his Grandpa Ray's first house had stood right to the north of our house and that my father-in-law had been born there. At that time the farm was one hundred acres and not much else except the old farmhouse and barn stood on the land. Our eleven acres now comprised a long tract, five to the East of the lane and six to the West. Our land was surrounded by forest on all sides. From the air, our eleven acres looked almost like a landing strip with clear views into the tall grasses. My husband was saying something about carving a sign for the end of the lane. I had noticed that people in these parts had a habit of naming their land. "What would you want to call it?" I asked him. He turned to me and simply said, "What it's always been called- Hawk's Run." My surprised look prodded him to explain. Grandpa Ray had named this land decades ago and the name had stayed with it. Our tract having been the site of the original house meant that the name was designated for our parcel. A warm feeling came over me and I wondered at the chosen name. Were there nesting hawks here? There was certainly enough forest and water to support them. The layout of our land also gave the hawks a superb hunting range. My visit back in the summer of the following year did not disappoint. I heard the call from the open kitchen window and my husband ran for the camera. The hawk sat less than twenty feet from the house in a low branch. He was majestic and he was not alone. On any given day if one takes the time to gaze upward into the air currents the hawks are there circling the fields looking for their next meal. Those days when you feel like you are being watched, you most likely are. The hawk's eyes are piercing and they watch us just like we watch them. This is their home. This is where Hawks Run.

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