Silent sentinel standing grounded, he does not take flight as I approach, but drills me with his jet black beady eye–sending all my petty thoughts and worries scattering like the wind blown trash skittering across the highway.  I stare back, meeting his gaze unflinchingly and we both are riveted in a locked gaze.

I feel as if he is asking something of me, or more as if he is questioning me.  How aware are you of the life pulsing all around you?  Do you feel the shift in the breeze, the slight drop of temperature that precedes those clouds ready to spill down into the valley from the mountain ridges?  Do you taste the tang of the wind that heralds snow?

Do you hear the sudden rush of wings and then their silent glide as the re-tail swoops down upon the too bold vole?  Do you smell, barely discernible under the sharp smell of the snowy wind, the crushed green growth of the mullein leaves under your feet–that rosette of spring still frosty, but juicy with green?

Do you sense the pulsing, living world around you even in this desolate, cold landscape?  The busy tunneling under fields?  The roots of trees reaching deeper below the frozen surface?  Or have you bundled yourself so tightly into your all- too-human concerns that you see nothing more than a ragged bird at the side of a dirty road?

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