I often say to Laura ‘Send me something lovely’ as I head to my local park, and magically I’ll have a beautiful encounter with birds, butterflies or dogs. This time I was over the moon to find a tiny dormouse in the grass next to my picnic blanket. In the 25 years that I’ve lived here, I’ve never seen one. We had them back home in England. They are adorable teeny-weeny fig-shaped creatures with big brown eyes and whiskers. I got on all fours and started to creep towards it, to get a better look. Just as I got within a couple of feet I saw a huge bird with a wing span the size of my arms swoop straight at me. Without stopping, it trapped the dormouse in one claw and shot up over the top of my head and vanished. I looked around and a woman sitting about 15 feet behind me shouted over ‘That was amazing!’ All the local birds started screeching and the noise pointed in the direction of a huge red tailed hawk sitting 12 feet away in a Sycamore tree. Starlings began dive bombing it to try to get it to move off. But it sat regally nibbling on its dormouse supper. I don’t think it qualifies as lovely in any conventional sense. Extraordinary for sure. But weirder still, I got home to find an email from the local library saying my new book, ‘H is for Hawk’ (about a woman overcoming her grief by learning to fly hawks) was ready for pick up.
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