"Tanya, the good Lord sends us signs...He lets us know when he's a needin' someone to come be with him in Heaven. All we've got to do is look and listen. They let us know all's well, that the Lord waits fer all of us with love."
~Mrs. Bessie Mae Hicks, 79, to me on Friday after my dad's funeral on Tuesday.
My father was a man of the Earth and was always happiest when he was outdoors... hunting and fishing...gardening... playing with the kids in our neighborhood. He knew as much about life in the woods as any person I've ever known, and it's very understandable that as he approached his passage, signs came from nature to announce it to us.
Samuel called me on Thursday before Daddy died on Saturday to ask me about hawk energy. He had experienced two powerful encounters with hawks, both Red-tailed, in less than 48 hours. The first flew by him and perched in front of him in a tree in the middle of campus as he was on his way to class. Astounded, Samuel said the hawk never took his gaze away from him as he walked by. In fact, the hawk followed him as he went on, flying from tree to tree as Samuel passed by. The next morning at his house, when Samuel opened the blinds to let the morning light in, he said he was face to face with a huge hawk that was sitting in a tree right outside his bedroom window. Afraid it would fly away, Samuel stood still, and the two exchanged gazes for an extended period of time.
On Wednesday prior to Daddy's death, I was on the phone with Papa as I turned down the driveway to my house. In the distance, flying over the pine grove at the end of my side yard, I counted about 200 crows that were gathered in the trees. I've never seen that many crows gathered on the farm in the almost 30 years I've lived here. Their calls resonated through the car window such that Daddy heard them on the other end of the phone. He speculated the crows were after something else they considered a bother. I stopped the car and talked to him at length about what the crows were doing, and Papa was in awe that we were experiencing them together. It was an incredibly special moment, one which Daddy mentioned to me the next couple of days we talked. "Tanya, are the crows still 'a gatherin'?" he asked.
Knowing Papa and his connection nature, I firmly believe the hawks and crows came to let us know Papa would soon be "taking flight." I shared these stories with Mrs. Hicks, a wise, humble, hard-working mountain woman who's been a friend of the family for years, a woman who has 8 children, cleans houses to make a little money, still grows and cans all the food for her family, and lives without the conveniences many of us take for granted. In her sweet, soft voice, she said to me, "Yes, Tanya, those were the signs."