(you can read part I here)
“You ain’t from around these parts, is you, white man?” was the look in her eye, and she belched forth and ominous and foreboding screech, challenging my resolve to meddle with her chicks. It was that same hawk screech that I had heard in every western movie I ever saw as a boy. “Advantage; Mama-Hawk,” I conceded as I drove slowly from the stick bowl perched upon the peg, that abandoned pole, out in no white man’s land.
That had been on a Monday. I returned every day for the rest of that week, grabbing photos of the fuzzy heads. On Thursday I came to the pole, but only one fuzzy white head appeared. I drove my slow circle around, and there at the bottom of the pole lay one expired fuzzy white head. I learned that often when there are more than just a single chick in a nest, one sibling will kick the other out; very seldom do both survive. Mamere nature is a callous and fickle bitch.
Well that sucks, way out here in not-any-white man’s land, one hour from Mercury, ninety miles away, at ninety miles per hour. I buried brother fuzzy head Deadalus at the base of the pole, lashing together a crucifix to plant on the grave, because after all, I am a Catholic white man; so I fancy. “Here Lies one Baby Red-Tailed Hawk” I scrawled on the wood with a black sharpie pen in my best scrawl. That would do nicely. “See you in four days, little brother Icarus hawk!” I bid aloft, as it would be a long weekend, 150 miles away in Vegas. I had no inkling of just how really long four days was to a fuzzy-head hawk, but I’d soon learn.
Over the weekend I thought of the hawk often, even nearly talking myself into making a three hundred mile trip at ninety miles per hour just to visit a fuzzy white head, and maybe steal a frame or two with my camera. I could wait; I would have to just wait, and catch up with them on Tuesday. The urge to race off to the test site was formidable… but I had young children to keep, and obligations to tend.
Tuesday came and I went. I passed around Mercury, because that’s where that hateful and cowardly sheriff lurked to pick on noble folks to build his empire, one speeding ticket at a time. I built up a head of steam that rocketed ol’ Nelly to ninety miles an hour out into the expanse of nobody-in-his-right-mind’s land.