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September 2004

Yesterday evening I entered Central Park's Ramble and listened for signs of our Red Tail Hawks. In and around Azalea Pond remained very quiet for the almost two hours or so that I remained there. I guess it was a little too chilly for the smaller birds to be bathing in the Gill also. I rode around continuously until I heard the angry cries of some robins and several distressed squirrels north of The Evodia Field. As I always do, I watched for where the upset animals are looking. Even so, it took quite a while searching through the thick foliage in the overhanging branches above a small grassy clearing just south of The Maintenance Shed, before I saw the beautiful red tail perched quietly above me. I began taping in case it took flight right away. I had enough time to position myself several feet up a small incline so I could see its face. It was Pale Male. Appeared to have just eaten, he leaned down and wiped his beak on the branch where he stood and prepared for flight. He pushed himself off the thick limb which hardly registered his movement. In the viewfinder of my camera I followed his spread wings as he glided above me and headed east. The low evening sun had for several hours kept most of the Park in shadow, but one tall European Linden I think it was, on The East Drive, caught the last bits of sunlight only on its very top. This is where Pale Male landed, bouncing on the flimsy tree-top to bask in the warm golden sunlight. He had to use his wings once in a while to keep from sagging too low into the tree. After the sunlight dwindled away, I packed my gear up and carried it across the grassy clearing. As I pushed my laden bike up the hill I kept my friend in sight as he maintained his delicate perch on the treetop. I gave little to no consideration of my exact direction afterward as I paused my step and enveloped myself in what thoughts may be flashing through his magnificent mind. I reflected on my own existence with scorn and I yearned for his Bearable Lightness of Being.