On seeing a Buzzard

In the windy sunny late evening air a buzzard rises over the shelter belt trees and lifts on the breeze, twisting her tail feathers and slowly working with the wind, draws a slow spiral above my head and then relaxing her tight control over the unruly weather ever so slightly, she drops and then catching the breeze races away from me towards the quarry lake, only to take charge again and bringing the restless wind to heel, starts her slow climb.

She isn’t hunting, I am sure of that, she is just enjoying flying, the feel of the wind rushing through her feathers, honing her skills, because she can.

My change in mood is palpable. Ushering in a slow release of endorphins, the sight of the buzzard has lifted my spirits and banished the dark thoughts, and stresses and strains from the day. Watching her fly for those few precious minutes has worked the kind of magic that only a brief encounter with nature can.

There is no bitter after taste, no fear of a hangover, no risk of an overdose.

But there is addiction. I want and need more.

This is why I come out on a windy cold evening, why I summon sleepy dogs from their baskets and encourage them into leads and harnesses.

My mood lifted, the dogs are able to relax, and they resume their sniffing and snuffling, while I make a few notes in my pocket book, occasionally turning my face to the wind to feel the breeze ruffle my hair and tingle my cheeks.

The buzzard has gone now. Drifted away over the shelter belt.

For a moment when she appeared, I cursed that I had left my camera behind, but now I am glad. No picture could capture that moment, no picture could replace the memory.

On the ridge above me, a couple of Lapwings take to the air and fly across the old overburden tip and drop suddenly into the field below us where they join four others, feeding and foraging amongst the grasses.

Soon the farmer will let his cattle out and the Lapwings will need to be wary of hooves.

But for now, they have the field to themselves.

The dogs have had enough and want to go home. The light is fading, and they are right, it is time to go.

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