I recently said to nathalie with an h, “It’s that time of year.” I was referring to many forms of life that use the warming weather to narrow their focus on that one thing that ensures survival: procreation.
She responded, “I didn’t know that.”
Being European, devilishly pretty, linguistically blessed and accented to a level that draws men in like flies to honey, and exceptionally sexy, she can play the dumb blonde card and get away with it.
We her friends know better.
But I digress…
Truth be told, different species do different things, yet the most visible efforts to protect a genetic lineage begin at winter’s end.
I mentioned that to her as I spoke of some recent images I captured.
It all began innocently enough…
High in the treetops came the shrill, powerful call of a female red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus).
From my perspective, she might as well have been on the moon for the distance and obstacles resting between us. Still, I know this species and I know that cry: either a challenger was nearby or one mate was calling to the other. In either case, I considered it wise to snap some pictures.
Within moments another hawk swept in over the trees and landed near the first.
So they knew each other. I wondered if they were mates.
I suddenly had a flashback to “My Cousin Vinny” as Marisa Tomei stands there smacking her foot on the ground in rhythm with her words as she says: “Well I hate to bring it up because I know you’ve got enough pressure on you already. But, we agreed to get married… Meanwhile, TEN YEARS LATER, my niece, the daughter of my sister is getting married. My biological clock is TICKING LIKE THIS…”
Something about that scene coupled with the first hawk’s adamant screaming told me what to expect.
It took about five seconds for my pondering to become solidified in truth.
The male who landed on the same branch promptly hopped-cum-flew to a new position that made everything clear: she had been calling for him; they were mates; and it was time for a little “doing the nasty” right there for all the world to see, right there perched high in a tree on a sunny day with the commotion viewable by anyone, and all despite naked limbs jostling to block the view.
I almost felt intrusive for taking photographs of the whole ordeal.
Although I laughed at the porno extravagance: her screaming “Yes! Yes! Yes!” while he smacked her rump and looked all too serious. Suddenly a great deal of humanity’s silliness made sense.
One thing that’s beautiful—seriously—about nature is that it’s in your face with splendor and candor, the beauty of the universe without all the anthropocentric nonsense we humans like to thrust upon it.
Shame for invading their private moment? That faded before it became apparent.
As did the intimate moment.
His business tended to, the male lit a cigarette, rolled over and climbed out of bed. He had his jeans on and was out the door before I realized he was done.
I’m sure the female felt the same way.
She leaped to another branch with a sudden interest in looking casual and calm, a collected and cool woman not so interested in appearances as in addressing the perpetual tick of the clock only she could hear.
You should have seen her throw her hair back with that dismissive way that brushes even the most serious suitor out the door…
Oh, he smoked his cigarette as he did his little aerial victory dance right above the trees. He circled and circled, low at first, then slowly climbed into the blue heavens.
Meanwhile, she did her nails and put on her makeup.
I had to wonder about all that hurrying he did this time, and then to run out the front door without even buttoning his shirt first, as though he had to rush home and wash his hair.
Somehow I figured she’d forgive him, let him slip beneath the covers, kiss him on the cheek and welcome him into her boudoir without hesitation—as many times as necessary to get the job done, I mean, then she’d kick him to the curb and make him mow the yard, clean the house, feed the kids, and fix the roof when it started leaking.
As for Nathalie: Yes. Uh-huh. You know you like it. That’s right. Who’s your daddy?
I have to go wash my hair now…