Short stories written by Lucinda Abra


I close my eyes, remembering a very different springtime when an unexpected friendship started with a high above repeated circling. The red-tailed hawk adapted to every air current, wings up, then down, a repeated cycle of aerobatic agility. A few weeks later, by the early summer, the large raptor was closely eyeing me toiling in the vegetable patch, perched in some rather wildly untended bushes that surrounded one border of the vegetable garden. For hours the bird would call out while I weeded and watered. In a ridiculously poor impersonation of the strong trill, I replied.

Autumn had abruptly pushed summer aside when one dawn, as pink streaked across the horizon, there was a knocking on my second-floor window, loud enough to both rouse and startle. There was my feathered friend, pacing back and forth, the strong talons gripping along the roof tiles. It seemed that the bird was saying, "Get up. Come see the quiet beauty before the humans move about."

Thereafter, before bedtime, I left little balls of raw meat on the ledge. The morning brought the familiar sound of a beak knocking on glass. I had grown to appreciate waking before even the sun, so together we could greet a quiet beginning. Tall grasses swayed in an unseen breeze. Sugar maples were just turning, revealing their hidden truths, as mist raised, thick as clouds, from a still warmed earth. My feathered friend made concentric spirals, at times a mere arm length away, celebrating existence as such pure spirits do.

When I left that house for good, the hawk, my hawk, trailed aside the vehicle for miles. I pulled over several times just to repeatedly wave. It was a time of goodbye to all that and a hello to all that would be unfolding. The Lucinda that was ended with her daughter's demise. The person to be reborn was just a nugget of hope, stashed among the art supplies and books. My art is better now, writing stronger, commitment broader. The raptor comprehended what I couldn't, that already I was floating, a fellow traveling high above the ordinary of daily life.

Hawk energy is a reminder to scrutinize from a higher vista and then, with wings wide open, catch the invisible currents and move towards a better life. But it was a quick flash of understanding that led to those daily breakfasts that soldered the connection. Being open to making new bonds requires thinking beyond the usual and entering upon a path of gifting the unknown.

There are molecules within each precious breath we take that hold the whole of humanity's history. While we remain sequestered, we inhale that same element that all our heroes shared throughout time. Think of those who have inspired, those who have left evidence of a life well-lived. For me, the list includes so many artists, writers, philosophers, playwrights, actors, musicians, freedom fighters all, each with their own unique voice. The very air that fills our lungs supplies us with life force. Adaptable as humans are, we will continue on to a new way of living within these many changes.