Wings in a Gray Sky

(Late morning)
Today is fresh and warm. These past few days were warmed by a south wind bringing early spring rains. It as if the world has been rinsed clean. The snow that had clung to branches has now plopped and melted upon the ground. My footsteps keep time with the drip drip drip of the last few drops rippling small puddles.

The mud is slowing my pace as I squish and slide through the woods. My two faithful hounds slip and slop along with me, unperturbed by their sodden, muddy coats.

I heard a raptor's shrill cry and looked skyward. The falcon was a black dot against a leaden sky. It suddenly tucked its wings and plunged downward. I came to the edge of a cottonwood grove and spotted the hunter standing atop a small kill. My dogs growled low at the scent of fresh blood. I hushed them and stayed well back in the trees so they would not disturb the falcon's feeding.

To my surprise, three men strode out from behind a clump of pines opposite me. Two of the men had falcons hooded and perched on thick leather bracers. The third chimed a small bell, calling his falcon back to his arm. All of the men had a clutch of perhaps a dozen small birds, which their hunters had brought down. I crouched low and held the scruffs of my dogs to keep them beside me. Once the third falcon was hooded, I entered the clearing and gave a soft whistle. Even hooded, all three falcons instantly turned their beaks toward the sound. The men friendly waved me over. They patted the soggy dogs as I admired the fine birds.

After chatting a few moments, we parted company. They invited me to sup with them at their camp. I thanked them but declined, myself being bound in another direction. As I walked on with my hounds at my heels I decided that I would dub this clearing Falconers' Grove should I pass this way again.

Late Winter, Snow

I have been traveling this road for years. It has had twists and turns, ups and downs, laughter and tears. I have seen much, been inspired by many, and perhaps influenced a few in my own right.
I have learned many things, while maybe not as much as I would have liked.
Wisdom is all around. I hope I have the sense to recognize it.

This is merely another way-point on my journey.
The beginning is lost to memory. The end is uncertain, but inevitable.

Men wiser than I have said before "Life is a journey, not a destination" and "All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not whither, deep roots are not touched by the frost."