The little boy played in meadow doing things that a country boy in the 70s and 80s would find natural. He climbed trees and rocks. He caught salamanders and crayfish out of the creeks and puddles. He made swords from sticks and did battle with the trees standing in for the bad guys. One day he was having an adventure down in a marsh when he had that eerie feeling of being watched. He scanned the trees and bushes but there was nobody. He looked for signs of a bear or coyote but the woods was empty. Then he looked up. Perched on a branch in the top of a nearby walnut tree was the largest hawk he’d ever seen. It sat there like a statue only cocking it’s head every so often. He was profoundly curious about the raptor. He’d never been this close to one in wild before. The hawk was large for a hawk but too small to be a threat to him or the cattle. So he watched the hawk back. After a few moments he tried to speak to it in the same calm voice he was taught to use around pets and livestock. The cocked it’s head to the other side but otherwise didn’t react. After a while he got bored and moved his adventure to another part of the farm only to find that the hawk had followed him. Ove the next few days this pattern continued. No matter where the boy played the hawk turned up eventually. So he gave the bird of prey a name worthy of an avian hunter. The name was “Falcor”. A combination of Falcon and his favorite comic book hero at the time which was Marvel’s Thor.
I was the boy and Falcor was real. Although every time I tried to tell someone about my “pet hawk” they smiled at my wild imagination. I don’t know if Falcor visited other people or even if they noticed when he did. I kinda doubt that he did because he never seemed to come around when other’s were present. After a few times of being given “that look” by my friends and family I stopped mentioning him. For several years I’d go on one of my walks in the woods and Falcor follow me in the distance. He never got real close but he would always be in a nearby tree. I couldn’t explain why until one day when I was older I told the story of “Falcor the hawk” to a professor in my wildlife biology class. He was the first one to actually believe that the hawk was more than just the wild imagination of a little boy who played in the wilderness. He also had a pretty logical explanation for the bird’s odd behavior. He had done some work with The West Virginia Raptor Rehabilitation Center and theorized that Falcor had come out of that program and that for some reason I must have reminded him of one of his caretakers. So it turns out that Falcor may have been waiting to be fed. Whatever the hawks motivation was to follow me around for a few years he still the coolest “pet” that I never actually owned and he has severed as the inspiration for a couple of characters in a couple of fiction stories that I will finish one day. Even today I’m reminded of him every time I see a hawk that seems to just be hanging out near humans.
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