Crispy slick leaf layered debris cushions the forest floor.
I stand one long leap from a rough legged hawk devouring carrion. We are alone.
He hastily takes me in.
Is it odd that I don’t threaten him or stranger that his flesh tearing pleasure does not threaten me; who cannot watch the infliction of pain, the pouring of blood, cannot eat an animal for the vision of its screaming death in her head?
On pavement would I watch a wild animal devour another?
What a nightmarish sight!
Pavement is the unnatural setting of my own killing field.
In that domain of human entanglement the sight of conquest and death is another survival.
My pavement here would seem freaky as a wild creature’s descent on Manhattan.
I am not a pavement bashing self hater.
I know how I am sustained: what a splendid life I lead!
On pavement I made my fortune and learned my trade.
On pavement bore two children and married.
On pavement I opened my home to friendship and love.
This grand pavement bears science, reason and art and humanity is brightened by it.
But this pavement is paid for in blood too.
Here wild creatures also fight for survival.
The wild is just down deep; just cleaner, most times.
No tarmac can keep our feet from touching the earth when we sink to receive it.
But how to remember when daily rushing is accompanied by the sound of clipped heels slapping man made surface?
Vigilance is required to tap the forest inside.
Insight watches the wild roaming there as well and bids them to calm.
Sent time and again to places where blacktop had no home when a gravel road would do, the hawk’s home is home in me too.
But some people carry pavement.
You can feel it as you pass them on wooded paths.
Grim jawed, fixed stares and heavy feet rush onward.
They bring the pavement with them.
Breathing stops and lids drop in momentary compliance as they come close.
And others carry the forest.
You know them for the quiet that settles upon you even passing on asphalt.
A benign countenance and the rhythm of the sure step are assuring as a mother’s hand to the forehead.
I come to the woods to become forest, to lose my pavement.
But even so there are days that asphalt fumes still cloyingly cloud the air around me.
It is not simple.
I watch the hawk rip and eat longer than I should.
Pavement is waiting.
I have places to go in my human domain.
Untouched by the death of this dinner, I wonder if the hawk can feel the complicity of my pavement
Or if for a moment I have let myself be akin to him.
re-posted on Rebelle Society as The Pavement We Carry. www.rebellesociety.com