Today was certainly an out of the ordinary kind of day. I spent the day with a friend and collegue trying to coax a redtailed hawk named Red out of a very tall spruce tree. It’s not really something that either of us really wanted to be doing. Cindy, my friend and the Director of Avian Care with the Bird Treatment and Learning Center, has the usual small mountian of tasks and duties awaiting her, back at the clinic. I myself should be chained to my work table getting back into a regular work schedule. Cindy, has other birds to exam and treat and a board meeting to prepare for, I have a small show in a few rapidly approaching weeks. Still, it is part of Cindy’s job to get Red, an escaped hawk back into her safe care.
So what the heck am I doing here? Well, nothing was happening for me at the work table anyway, so why not give a helping hand (or at least lend moral support) where it may do some good. In the studio, I find myself just sitting there. I pick up clay, put it back down. I push it and poke it..even actually made a few things… but nothing really is engaging me. Nothing feels very satisfying. My muse, like Red, decided to make a break for it.
I never really thought about having a “muse”… (a rather capricious spirit that bestows creative inspiration to artists) It seems like an archaic, even fanciful concept, but I don’t know what else to really call it. Ideas or inspiratons can hit you out of the blue and can just as suddenly desert you. It is a very fleeting and fickle thing. I’ve been feeling very annoyed and frustrated. 2009 was a bustling year for me, I enjoyed a long holiday break and now, it is time to get busy…..and I need to get busy NOW!
It’s just past sunrise, looking up at the big hawk, we are both delighted to have found him. He had been leading volunteers on a hide and seek chase for 3 days. Being an 11yr old, retired , falconry training bird, Red is wise in the ways of toying with his human keepers. Cindy swings and tosses a dead mouse up in the air to get Red’s attention. She has it. The hungry hawk jumps out of the spruce tree and swoops over her head for a closer look. As he circles back around, it seems like every raven in the area descends on the small neighborhood cul de sac. They mob the big predator and drive him back into the safety of the spruce. A waiting game begins. While the ravens circle and scold, the hawk and humans wait for them to grow bored and go elsewhere. The temperature is in the single digits. While we retreat to a warm van, Red puffs up a bit more and hunkers down. Eventually, the ravens depart and Cindy continues with the flying mouse routine. Red makes several impressive dives and passes. He never lands on her gloved arm. He just hits the mouse in passing, managing to just get an occassional chunk.
“It’s important”, she says, ” to be patient. If you startle him by trying to grab him, he will never come down. We have to wait for him to settle on the glove and then calmly get hold of his jesses…then we can get him home.” I knew how it was supposed to work, I’ve had enough bird training under my belt to understand. Still, it was fascinating to watch Cindy and Red. Cindy would show him the mouse, teasing and enticing. At times, the hawk seemed to thumb his beak at us mere earth bound mammals . At other times however, he dove. He would come close….closer, but not landing. It was like watching a strange exotic dance.
It struck me then. Was I trying to grab my “muse”? I have schedules to keep and product to produce, but perhaps I need to try a different approach. Maybe I need to simply be patient, stop try to force things. and move with a more relaxed pace. Like Red, the “muse” will come only when it is good and ready.
We didn’t manage to recapture Red today, but we are resaonably sure he will remain where he is overnight. He isn’t likely to go anywhere. Tomorrow for both Red and myself, the dance will continue. This evening, as I ready myself for bed, I feel reassured that all three of us, Cindy , Red and myself will eventually find what we’re after, it just may take a bit longer than we would like.