The return of large tracts of mature forest in the eastern United States has meant the resurgence of two fierce creatures: the Fisher and Northern Goshawk. I wrote about the Fisher here. I have had the distinction of having been seriously threatened by both animals, although neither made contact.
I wrote about my encounter with the Goshawk for Moon Books Blog back in 2018, but the pictures got messed up when they changed the website. Here is another one.
To be fair, I’ve had plenty of encounters with Goshawks and Fishers where I did not feel threatened. Fishers, especially, have snarled at me from their perches in the lower branches of trees, but I stepped away to relieve their distress, not because I was in danger.
The Goshawk is a favorite falconry bird, because she is large and agile. Whenever I encounter a hawk or falcon in meditation, I feel an overpowering urge to take up falconry. Then I come out of my trance and realize I don’t have what it takes to commit to a feathered familiar. They require a great deal of time and attention, and most raptors are long-lived. So I continue cultivating my relationship on a metaphysical plane.
When I hear that ki-ki-ki-ki-ki-ki-ki-ki in the forest, however, I respectfully back away. That encounter with the Goshawk was the most frightening experience I have had, worse even than meeting that Mountain Lion that refused to back off. I have a theory that an aggressive encounter with an animal can transfer power, even if it feels uncomfortable at the time. Certainly there are some encounters that change a person forever.