As you know if you’ve read many of my blogs, I enjoy watching nature, especially the little birds that frequent our feeders. Surrounded by this small woods, we get the opportunity to observe nature up close and personal.
Sometimes it feels more up close than I might prefer.
Last week I wrote about the hawk haunting our feeders. On Saturday, while I was sipping a cup of tea at the breakfast table, a movement caught my eye out of the window and I saw what I believe was a large hawk take off from the ground beside our deck and fly low away through the woods with something in its grasp.
I told Mark, who was oblivious to the whole small drama. “Where did it go?” he asked.
“Just went a short way in that direction. It’s probably stopped to eat whatever it had,” I answered. “Do hawks leave behind the bones? I’ve never seen that here anywhere.”
“Owls eat everything,” Mark said.
I know. I have seen an owl pellet here.
“There’s a lot of chipmunks out there,” Mark said.
That didn’t make me feel a lot better, because I actually like the chipmunks.
“If we had mice, the hawks would be helpful,” I said. And even though I actually think mice are cute too, I don’t care for them so much if they get in the house.
Then Mark stepped out on the deck and looked down. “Oh no,” he said. “There’s a bunch of feathers out here.”
When our senses get involved, everything has more impact. Knowing that hawks eat small critters is one thing. Seeing the carnage is another.
This is true for everything. Reading or being told about something affects our intellect. But seeing, hearing, or smelling, a traumatic or tragic event or its aftermath affects our emotions. That’s why authors are encouraged to provide sensory information to make a scene as real as possible.
I think the link between our intellect and emotion is an interesting one to explore. I think the opposite of what writers attempt to do, and using our intellect to distance ourselves from the emotional overload of sensory information, may also be possible and helpful in some circumstances.
Is that something you are able to do?