Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Goshawks vs. Depression

Pluvialis has been having a rough time.

I do not think she is 'whingeing', in the slightest; as she admits, 'Death, relationships, job-loss, moving: four biggies in the World of Stress.' The four I'd say-- dealing with only two has on occasion reduced me to near- catatonia.

What fascinates me is that she is finding some relief in manning a goshawk, a kind of falconry some (Matt?) feel is uniquely stressful.

Doing such 'inexpressibly difficult' things pull us out of ourselves. That phrase is from T. H. White, in whose footsteps Pluvi is following. He also said: 'As I put Gos to bed in the darkness, a new thought emerged. This time it was a quotation: to scorn delights and live laborious days. But it presented itself the other way about, saying: To live laborious days for their delight'.

Need I say that Pluvialis has also, once again, made a brilliant mini- essay out of it all? (With ballooning baby spiders!)

Oh and-- new edition of that book, which in my edition I called both 'a book about excruciatingly bad falconry' and 'the best book on falconry, its feel, its emotions, and its flavor, ever written', coming soon, with a brilliant cover by Bruno Liljefors, the best it has ever had.


Matt Mullenix said...

Well, joking over beers one evening at a field meet, I might tell you goshawks cause depression! All that sulking and sitting and staring off into space... No wonder they are flown by reclusive, uncouth persons with large feet, etc.

But that's only because I fly a Harris, the black lab with wings, and I'm all eat-up with jealousy. :-D

Seriously, I can't imagine a better cure for the blues than regular trips to the field. Nothing clears my head like hawking. For an hour and a half, you face only the kinds of problems you were born to face, and on the right scale. You solve the problems with your head, feet and hands. No need to Google anything or call someone on the cell for help.

In providing this kind of experience, the shortwings are surpeme, the perfect mix of walking and stalking. You're usually alone, which is welcome; the hawk, dog and any person you might bring with you will be as focussed as your are and no hinderance at all.

Because your job is to get the hawk close, you have to be part of the hunt. It's impossible to think about something else while stalking game and getting ready for the slip. One instant you're crouched to spring and the next completely relaxed, running and grinning or running and cursing; either way getting set to do it all again.

Compare that to any hour I spent at work, answering emails, phone calls, drop-ins, doing several things at once and none very well. My entire workday is spent "in the crouch," never completing any task or seeing the end of anything because there is no end to any of it. No logical stopping point. The tasks are totally out of scale.

I am getting depressed just writing about it. Better get to it.

Hawking this afternoon...!

Anonymous said...

So Matt, are you just going to say "short-wingers rule"?

mdmnm said...

That comment should be a post. I think it would be hard, if not impossible, to articulate a much better "why I hunt/fish/hike/...", especially hunting, from the perspective of a wage slave. Even when the job is good, it isn't _that_ good!

Matt Mullenix said...

Reid: Shortwingers DO RULE. Our kind have been kept down too long by the lordly longwingers of the world. Arise! Kill! Eat!

M: My worst day Far Afield is better than the best day at...