Saturday, December 17, 2005

Normal Station Neighborhood

Our neighborhood is named Normal Station, after the once-upon-a-time train station located at what is now the University of Memphis, formerly a school of education known as a "normal school." I presume that comes from the idea of establishing norms for the training of teachers so that children around the country would receive a similar kind of education.

Anyway, we often joke that our neighborhood is the only normal thing about us.

Well, today I was driving home and out of the corner of my eye saw this man standing in a front yard waiting to cross the street. I'm not sure what caught my eye. The camouflage pants and backpack? The long hair? I think it was the combination and the fact that he was in the yard rather than on the sidewalk.

Whatever, the thing that widened my eyes was what looked an awful lot like a hawk sitting on his arm!

I have been known to alter my driving route in order to have a longer view of a hawk in flight. This was the first time I followed a hawk that wasn't flying.

I made the block, drove into the park, got out of my car, and followed the man. Watched a bit and decided he didn't seem terribly unusual (apart from having a large hawk on his arm) and called out, "Do you mind if I watch you?"

He didn't.

So, on a cloudy and otherwise rather blah afternoon, I got to see a hawk named Sigourney up close, looking right into her eyes. Learned that Mike used to work at the zoo and decided to get into falconry. Saw Sigourney fly from his arm up into a tree. Heard him call to her and saw her fly to where he was.

It was fascinating!

And while I started out to say what a very abnormal thing this was to encounter, thinking back on it, I realize that the way Mike was with Sigourney seemed more "normal" in the sense of "the way things are supposed to be" than not.

It goes back to the lion and the lamb passage, that all creatures were meant to live in peace. It was so neat to see this guy perfectly comfortable with a huge beaked bird five inches from his face, and the beautiful bird with no fear of getting so close to him, responding to his calls, letting me come near.

Well, whether it is normal or not, it was not what I expected for the day.

Keep your eyes open!

1 comment:

MiRiAm said...

Sheila! I just read this "older" post of yours...just going through your blog today some. I read about Mike and his hawk Sigourney the other day (I think tuesday 14th maybe?) on the Daily Helmsman (the UofM/campus newspaper) He was on the first page. It was really fascinating and I so-o hope to see him and Sigourney myself someday soon! That was special!