soaring

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Some friends near San Diego have one of four falconry schools in the US, West Coast Sky Falconry. They are also avid paragliders.  Hang around with Kirk and Denise for long and they will have you handling birds and flying over the coastline.

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One of Kirk’s passions is parahawking.  Yesterday, we took three hawks with us to Torrey Pines in San Deigo, a bluff where people come to step off the cliff, into the air over the Pacific Ocean.  Shanti, Kirk’s oldest hawk went for a ride as well.  What a sight to see this beautiful bird soar alongside and land on his glove as Kirk yells, “Om Shanti” to call her to him.

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In the moments before Kirk and I left the ground and he was telling me to keep moving forward, toward the edge of the cliff, I wondered if this was the smartest idea after all.  But that moment that we took flight, all those concerns faded away as serenity and awe took over.  Each time we caught wind and gained elevation, my breath was taken away.  The silence, the grace, the peacefulness of soaring effortlessly through the sky is something that I hope I can recall when life is less than serene.

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Back at home base, we wandered from the moutaintop converted barn that is home for the week to a few of many beautiful vistas on a “hawk walk.”  We leapfrogged around the area with gloved hands smeared with raw chicken and called the hawks to us, from one to another along the trail.  An incredible way to watch the last bits of light kiss the landscape and disappear beyond the coastal mountains ~40 miles away.

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