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Superiority. Speed. Power. Focus…

…Agility. Gracefulness. Observation. Spirit. Passion. Fluidity.

 The Falcon to the Falconer

Unleash me from your hand
And I will lance the light for you
I’ll cut a swordblade on the wind
And pennant it with flight for you
To signal I am yours
If you will free me to be true to you

Unleash me from your hand
And I will mock the sky for you
I’ll pull the anger from the air 
And make the breezes sigh for you
To show you I am yours
If you will free me to be true to you

Unleash me from your hand
And I will jewel it bright for you
I’ll hunt the treasures of the wind
And pluck them into sight for you
To show that I am yours
If you will free me to be true to you

O, cast me from your hand
That I may show my love for you
And throw me to the wind
That I may know my need for you

All darkness on your hand
I’m hooded, pinned and held by you
O, give me back my wings
That they may bring me back to you 

~ Jonathan Steffen

The Peregrine falcon’s scientific name is Falco peregrinus,
which means “falcon wanderer” because it is a migratory bird rather
than sedentary. It is found throughout the world and is known to travel great
distances. Falcons are the
fastest birds on earth, which is one of the reasons they are such mighty
hunting birds. They have been clocked at speeds over 200 mph and up to as much
as 220 mph. This is true when flying, diving and stooping. Just to put things
in a little perspective, the terminal velocity of a human is 120 mph. That
means that in a free-fall state, the human body cannot reach speeds beyond 120
mph. Well now, that’s a thought to ponder for a moment.

The Peregrine
is most often used in falconry due to its keen intellect and incredible ability
to calculate or judge its prey; but, what exactly is falconry? In short, it is “the taking of wild quarry in its
natural state and habitat by means of a trained raptor.” As such, the
commitment to this endeavor is demanding and extreme: time (at least seven
years to become a Master falconer), money, effort/ethics, permits, and access to adequate land are just a few
serious points to consider. But, for me, what appears most complex about falconry, is
the “personality” aspect of this undertaking. It seems, after all the logistics are considered, the million-dollar
question(s) remain: Can you hunt? Not do
you know how, which is a challenge in and of itself, but are you emotionally prepared?
Falconry is sharing your life with a
creature that has evolved over millions of years as a predator.
After
investing all the time and effort, do you really understand that, at any
moment of free flight, your bird can choose to simply fly away and never
return?

For this
reason, the poem above is very poignant. Wild animals are just that: wild. We humans serve them through rescues, sanctuaries and conservation efforts and serve
ourselves, i.e., through falconry and the like. But, we must always respect the inherent nature of these,
once feral, creatures. In falconry, there is always a risk that the raptor may
decide to leave for good. I suppose the saying, “If you love somebody, let them
go. If they return, they were always yours. If they don’t, they never were…” is relevant even in human/Nature relationships…

With love and
gratitude, Peregrine.

 

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