I am always looking for them.


I see them most often on power lines, easy to spot, as they are so much larger than other birds perched on high.

Alone. What other bird would perch with a hawk?

Some of them have so much white plumage that I think of snowy owls (which do not live in this southern clime).

In recent weeks I’ve seen a hawk in the branches of a winter-bare tree.

Regal. Breathtakingly beautiful.

Raptors, living on prey. Solitary creatures, not socialites. Steeped in symbolism.

Ultimately they are creatures of intense focus, and that is the lens I will use now.

It occurs to me, while contemplating hawks, that what we focus on feeds us.

Not our stomachs. Our spirits. Our souls.

Everything we devour isn’t good.

It also comes out that way, somewhere, somehow.

Somewhere, somehow, I think it was the hawk that inspired me to give up negativity for Lent.

I don’t need to partake of it or serve it (the whole point being repentance and not returning to it again).

I stepped away from social media quite some time ago; not gone, exactly, just…distanced. Able to hone in, occasionally, for what’s really of value.

I’ve stopped dwelling in the shadows of this school year (a work in progress). Perhaps more hours of daylight have helped with this…the hawk doesn’t waste precious time rueing the daily grind of life. It just does it. Concentrating on the task at hand. Never losing direction. Knowing when and where to move; until then, waiting and watching. With wide perspective.

Of course all the challenges don’t just disappear (as the hawk surely knows).

But in shedding unnecessary weights, the heights are easier to obtain. The mental eye is clearer, sharper.

Yes, focus.

Consider this, from Merriam-Webster:

The Latin word focus meant “hearth, fireplace.” In the scientific Latin of the 17th century, the word is used to refer to the point at which rays of light refracted by a lens converge. Because rays of sunlight when directed by a magnifying glass can produce enough heat to ignite paper, a word meaning “fireplace” is quite appropriate as a metaphor to describe their convergence point. From this sense of focus have arisen extended senses such as “center of activity.”

Directed light, channeled energy…being a conduit.

My thoughts spin homeward, to the hearth and heart of my life.

And as I drive at the end of the day, my freer spirit soars like the hawk on high, wind ruffling the embers of its breast.

Red-shouldered hawk. Photo by my friend E. Johnson


with thanks to Two Writing Teachers for the Slice of Life Story Challenge

Like crows, hawks use tools
to get what they need.

Writing is a tool
for the soul.

A lens
for a better focus
on life.

6 thoughts on “Focus

  1. I like the idea that what we focus on feeds us. Shedding negativity is a worthy goal for Lent. And this line, though maybe not as poetic as some of your more elegant lines, says so much:
    But in shedding unnecessary weights, the heights are easier to obtain. The mental eye is clearer, sharper.
    I’ll look at hawks in a new way, now. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What we focus on feeds us….a sermon, a lesson in itself. You know that for some time I have felt we are related somehow in the great tree. Maybe closer than we think. I, too, spot hawks and just yesterday saw one at the end of the road where they sit at the open meadow and watch for scampering field mice. One is always there, focused on food possibilities. Oh, how I love this slice today. I also love that you gave up negativity for Lent. Imagine what would happen if the whole world did that for a month. You may have discovered the way to world peace, Fran.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You find so much to learn and share in the natural world. I love the image of the “…hawk in the branches of a winter-bare tree.” And the laser focus of the hawk, we could all take a lesson from that. And knowing that focus in Latin meant hearth, fireplace. You teach us so much with your posts. You’ve given up negativity for Lent. This phrase “Directed light, channeled energy…being a conduit,” seems to be the path you’re pursuing. I’m not sure that I’ve seen hawks very often in our area. But maybe it’s because I haven’t been looking.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The origin of “focus” fascinated me, Ramona, and seemed to somehow fit with where this post was leading. I have only started noticing hawks in the last couple of years, and have been awed by them. They are stunning!


  4. You did it again- with razor sharp focus, you constructed a meditative piece brimming with introspection and learning from nature. Shedding negative- such a worthy goal. I love this line- “ But in shedding unnecessary weights, the heights are easier to obtain.” Such gorgeous writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I so appreciate your gracious words, Cindy, I’ve been mesmerized by the beauty of hawks. Although they are predators, their lives aren’t easy (I’ve been reading about them).


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