Early Saturday morning I ventured outside to the crow-feeder to put out the morning spread for the birds, squirrels and crows. Blair’s unique design for this feeder has served us all well for almost ten years now. After hunting the last squirrel-chewed feeder from the woods behind our house, we got serious. Blair grabbed the posthole digger and installed two metal mailbox posts upon which he built a four foot by two foot tray upon the outstretched arms that would normally hold mailboxes. Now everyone gets in the pool so to speak. Even the raccoon and the wild cats occasionally climb up the posts to see what is being served at our back yard buffet. The down side to this buffet is that the predators are constantly casing the feeders on the feeder. Feral cats that used to be starving were frequently jumping up and taking our songbirds in a single leap six feet high and G.O.N.E! Once we started feeding them through the humane trap/spay/neuter release program, they got too fat to jump fast enough to catch anything. Yet, once the trees shed their leaves, the hawks have free reign upon the feeder. One Sunday morning I sat at the dining room table having tea with a girlfriend as we both stared open-mouthed gawking at the Red-tail Hawk who swept in, grabbed a squirrel, twisted its life away in a split second and took off into the sky with breakfast, heading home to feed it’s family perhaps. It’s all good in nature, it’s all in balance. So, on this morning, feeling one with the beautiful woods, so much that I must have blended in perfectly when a sharp-eyed Cooper Hawk didn’t realize I was emerging from the trees as he was flying in to grab a snack. He stumbled in mid-air, just two feet from my face and fell into the garden, scurrying like a big dog taking a quick turn on hardwood floors! Talons full of leaves and a stick, he flew off, happy to not had a closer encounter with me, I’m sure. Close enough to see the yellow of his eyes, the only sunshine we’d seen all week. Today the sun is shining again and I think of my Cooper friend, wondering if he is feasting uon a songbird missing from our backyard. If so, I’m glad he eats. Things are not so much in balance with the people part of nature in our world. At a time so close to Christmas, my heart hangs heavy for those who do not have food to eat, presents to open and families to love them. I live in the city yet my backyard keeps me grounded to Mother Earth. Keeps me sane when so much is out of balance.