Last Saturday, while we were beginning our board retreat, a young hawk flew into the Bortin Hall through one of the open doors. The doors were open so that we could enjoy a little bit of time without air conditioning in the cool of the morning. Instead, we found ourselves entertaining a young visitor who was quite distressed to be in the hall with us.
After a conversation about whether people tended towards being thinkers or doers, our self-identified doers felt empowered to call the Lindsey Wildlife Center and a few other resources to try to find out how to get our feathered friend out of the hall. We were advised to leave the room and leave the doors opened. We did, moving the entire meeting into the gallery where we all had to collectively breathe in to fit around the table. Later we migrated into the sanctuary, once again, expending energy in the hopes that our visitor would see fit to leave.
The scared hawk hopped over to the gallery side of the hall and when I peered in, she was looking through the window at me. She looked a little dejected as if we had abandoned her. Neither water nor a plate of meat would convince her to leave. After the meeting was done, David Stanley and I chased her around the room with tablecloths hoping to get her to exit. All we succeeded in doing was making her hot and anxious. Even from below I could see her panting with her beak open. We left her there, David generously agreeing to stay for a while and do some gardening on this 100 degree plus day so that she might have another opportunity to escape without notice.
She did not seize that opportunity or several others that came her way. Later, Scott Schrader, a veteran of many walks and talks with hawks, went back at sunset and she saw fit darkness escape the darkened hall through the lighted doorway. I was so glad to get that text, already making plans to move coffee hour out onto the patio. David Stanley got the word when he arrived with a cot, planning as a good Steward of the earth and the church to spend the night if need be to keep the doors open for the hawk.
Though I very earnestly tried to convince our young visitor to leave, that work was not mine to do. Instead, Scott with his decades of hiking and nature expertise had the right calm presence. I was sorry she spent an anxious nine hours in that building and also glad that I had had the chance just to enjoy being near her. She was a truly beautiful creature and despite my bill faded efforts to hustle her out the way the nature centers suggested we do, I had also taken some time just to sit beneath her, very still, and enjoy the miracle of being close to this wonderful wild creature. That was a great gift.
Some things are not yours to do, they are just yours to enjoy