17 Feb

The Deserter

I look left, then right, and left again.

The road is clear and, pushing pedal toward the floor, I pull onto the winding road. As I accelerate into the turn, a hawk merges with me, flying a few yards both above and ahead of my vehicle.

For half a mile we keep pace with one another, flying along at a 35 mph clip. I shadow him, winding left and right as the road dictates. For a moment I am not driving, but rather flying.

The light ahead pulls my attention away from the beautiful bird. The light signals red, and my foot presses on the brake. The vehicle slows. The hawk does not.

As I come to a halt at the traffic light, the hawk suddenly changes course. It angles its outstretched body a few hours counterclockwise, deserting the road in favor of fields and forest.

Imprisoned in my vehicle, awaiting the go of green, I watch in envy as the hawk fades into the heavens.