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The Hawk's Message
Malia's Journal Update

January 23, 2005

from Ashland, Oregon



January 3, 2005

Today I woke up in total denial that I had to go look for a job and I was just in no mood for it. I sipped at my coffee, leaving the curtains closed, not wanting to face the world, New Year, new possible beginnings or not.

When I finally rolled up the curtains to let in the day, in the very next moment, a red-tailed hawk flew by and landed right on top of the trailer parked next to me. I had never seen one in such civilized surroundings, and I watched him for several moments as he just sat up there and seemed to be staring right at me. I even had time to go get my camera to get a couple of shots of this regal bird before he flew off.

If nothing else, this gave me the excuse to procrastinate some more, so I went to consult the American Indian book I have about animals and the messages and lessons they have for us. It said that Hawk is the messenger and is asking me to be observant, that life is sending me signals and I should look at my surroundings and observe the obvious in everything I do. The only thing obvious to me at that point was that I just didn't want to get dressed and go look for work that I didn't want to do.

Reading further, it said if it seems solutions to my problems are hard to find, it's because I have lost the broader vision of hawk. It warned that if I shut down my powers of observation because something in my life has become too painful to feel, too dark to see, it is time to circle over my life and examine it from a higher perspective. A broader view may give me a better ability to discern the hazards which bar me from freedom of flight.

In pondering this, I know that part of the reason I am so resistant to looking for a job in the legal field as usual is that I simply don't want to support myself that way anymore. My fondest dream since I started traveling has been to find a way to make the money I need from writing (my first love) and travel (my true passion). I've got more ideas than I do money, so I just haven't totally figured out how to do that yet. But I just keep making myself take at least one baby step a day toward what I want to do, even if I don't know if it will work for sure or not.

January 6, 2005 - I'm published??!!

Today the editor of the Good Sam magazine "Highways" emailed me to say the Alaska article they bought from me will be published in the March issue, barring any unforeseen "space constraints." That lifted my spirits, and I promptly added "no space constraints, please " to my list of nightly prayers...

I don't know how, but I just think it's bound to help in my future writing endeavors to have had even a small article published in such a widely read magazine. Every baby step counts toward the goal, right?

January 21, 2005 - My first customers!

Today the campground owner where I'm staying agreed to barter a month's rent for the website I designed for them - I think a great deal for both of us! When I was doing research on this area, I read about Holiday RV Park in the camping guides, but they didn't have a website at the time. I like to at least look at pictures of the parks before I commit to staying for a month, so wouldn't make a reservation sight unseen. When I got here, it was obvious this campground was the best choice for me exploring this area. Once I met the friendly owner, Joyce, I talked to her about my doing a site for them. She didn't seem too enthusiastic at first, but I went ahead and drafted a design of a couple of pages so she could see what I had in mind. I guess it paid off, because she finally agreed to become my first website customer today!

Another first was when I was throwing out ideas to my friend and neighbor, Hank, about some of the services I could offer RVers. I said I could take pictures of them and their RVs and create a personalized "business" card that they could hand out to other wandering friends they meet and want to keep in contact with. He promptly became my first contact card customer!

My first speaking engagement!
One of my best cyber-buddies, a fellow Escapee, has been elected organizer of the "Graduating Class of 2005" - so far a group of about 65 couples and a few singles who are starting their fulltime RVing lifestyle sometime this year. They're all meeting at the big RV rally in Quartzite next January.

When Tab first wrote me, he said "I wish I could express fully how much you have an influence on our journey with your fearless adventure to overcome things and do it by yourself. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I eagerly await each update you send and your trip to Yellowstone immediately prompted us to make it a must see. Your pictures are sooooo beautiful and you certainly have a way of writing that captures your attention. You never cease to amaze me."

When he first asked where I would be next January, I laughed and said I try never to plan that far ahead. The more I thought about it, though, and the more I read from the "class" I thought of it as an honor to be asked, so I happily agreed. I'm sure people like Tab who I've never met, but who have "met" me through my journal don't realize how much it means to me to hear from them and how much encouragement I get from their taking the time to let me know I have impacted their lives positively in some way.

He said he thought everyone would want to hear about my trip through Alaska, as it seems that is the Mecca destination for all RVers. I told him I'd probably be more nervous about speaking before the group than I was in the "wilds" of the tundra, but I'd tell them anything they wanted to know.
January 23, 2004 - A broader perspective
Today I visited with a fantastic couple who own a wonderful RV park near Crater Lake - Prospect RV Park. They showed me beauty in that area that I had not even imagined existed. They talked to me of possibilities to support my travel habit in ways I had never even conceived of before. On the way home, as I drove along the gorgeous Rogue River, out of the corner of my eye as I crossed a bridge, I saw a movement across the sky. I broke out in a big grin at the sight of a red-tailed hawk and thanked him for the reminder. I'll try not to forget to lift my attention and look at events in my life from a higher perspective and with an open, receptive heart. I'll try to understand that even when the skies may be cloudy, the sun is just waiting to shine and will always find its way. So no matter if I have to work a bit longer in the legal field or not - I know that all efforts made toward following my dream will be rewarded if I don't give up. And days like today and the reminders I get from people of like spirit and from nature itself make it all worthwhile.
January 25, 2004 - A wonderful note from a reader
Today I received an email from a descendant of John James Audubon who had come across this page from an RV forum. She wrote to share with me a passage from his journal describing his walk in search of a Broad-Winged Hawk. She agreed to let me share it here. She begins her message to me:

"Your story about the Red-tailed Hawk brought to mind my 4th great grandfather's paintings (John James Audubon), so I looked up his drawing of the Red-tailed Hawk ... described in Vol. 1 of the text (scientific journals--published 1840) that accompanies his masterpiece of watercolors, 'The Birds of America.'

"The painting is of the male red-tail attacking possibly a female that has a rabbit in its talons. The next hawk he describes is the Broad-Winged Hawk, and some time ago I found a passage in his journal describing his walk in search for the bird. Back in those days there were no cameras with which to take pictures of birds. The artist would gather his specimens to be drawn by going into the woods or fields and finding one he liked the looks of. Then the bird was shot, taken to his studio, mounted a special way on a board in as natural a position as possible, and then drawn. Audubon was the first artist to mount birds in such a way (also the inventor of bird banding), and that is why his paintings look realistic and not stilted. Also in those days people were not thinking much about conservation, and it wasn't until Audubon's later years, when even he realized the Passenger Pigeon was going to become extinct (which it did in 1914), that he began complaining about the over-killing of birds and mammals. We know the rest of the story.

"I thought you might enjoy a few sentences of one of his days in the field. It is interesting to know also that the texts that accompany the paintings (in seven separate volumes) were supposedly scientific field notes. However, because Audubon was raised in France and learned English only after he was twenty, his verbiage was more poetic than scientific, and his publishers told him after Vol. 2 was published to drop the flowerly stuff. So my quote is from the flowerly stuff in Vol. 1:

"One fine May morning, when nature seemed to be enchanted at the sight of her own great works, when the pearly dew-drops were yet hanging at the point of each leaf, or lay nursed in the blossoms, gently rocked, as it were, by the soft breeze of early summer, I took my gun, and, accompanied by my excellent brother-in-law, William G. Bakewell, Esq., at that time a youth, walked towards some lovely groves, where many songsters attracted our attention by their joyous melodies. The woods were all alive with the richest variety, and, divided in choice, we kept going on without shooting at any thing, so great was our admiration of everybird that presented itself to our view."

The bird they ultimately found was the Broad-Winged Hawk, and an injured one at that. Audubon was able to capture it without injury and took it home, posed it for drawing, and then let it go."

I wrote her back to thank her and told her I prefer the poetic language which gave me another insight into this man I have long admired.

It also cracked me up that I had emailed the Audubon society here in Oregon with my picture attached to make sure I had identified my visitor correctly and they promptly responded and confirmed that it was indeed a red-tailed hawk. And then I hear from a direct descendant with what I consider ultimate confirmation. What a blessing to hear from such people!

Next Update Feb. 17, 2005 I'm Published!
Copyright by Malia Lane - all rights reserved