Next to the church, along the woody eminence from which you can watch fireworks, five or six pines stand tall, half covered in ivy. A pair of hawks live here. They have red shoulders and tails both, and seem to be different sizes at different times, so we’ve been unsure about species, but lately we think they must be Buteo jamaicensis. Their wings from below have that black-rimmed white look, and they’re just such tough customers. They keen like the possessed; when crows mob them, a half dozen at a time, they shrug it off. “Just another day being a hawk on Twitter,” we say. There was a nest where hungry hawklets seemed likely, but it was far out of view, and being still doubtful on telling one hawk from another we’re not sure if any fledged this year.
For my hungry progeny I make a burrito. The beans are gin and the rice is vermouth; you need both, but there’s no mistaking which one gets top billing. Yet it’s the rice that takes longer to cook. So this tends to be one of the dozen small still spots in my day: it bubbles, I putter, it bubbles, I putter.
Under the hawks we garden, or try to garden. It’s tough interpretive work, sorting out the plants that want to be hot and dry from those that are simply putting up with it. But the work never stops, which must be the definition of a garden as opposed to a monument. A garden could only become a monument by chance: that is, if someone happened to notice it after it was dead.