It is in rugged crises, in unbearable endurance, and in aims which put sympathy out of the question, that the angel is shown.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Every time the phone rang I raced to get it, hoping it would be the handyman I’d hired to fix the backyard fence.
I’d left two messages before he finally called back. He was always busy this time of year, especially after a snowy and windy winter when everybody seemed to need weather-related home repairs of one kind or another.
“I’ll get to you as soon as I can,” he’d promised, and I knew he would. But when I looked out the upstairs bedroom window, all I saw was a big mess of tangled fence in my yard.
The phone rang and I dropped the laundry basket on my bed and nearly broke my wrist grabbing the receiver. “Hello?” I said desperately.
I jammed the phone back in the charger and glanced out the window. A large hawk trained its black beady eyes on me from a tree limb only a few feet away. I didn’t need the binoculars I kept on the windowsill especially for times like this to see it was a red-tailed hawk. The majestic creature surveyed the area, turning its head side to side, then focusing on the ground below. A breeze ruffled its spotted chest feathers. I watched as the bird watched. It stretched a powerful yellow claw. We waited. I couldn’t have pulled myself away if I’d wanted to. Everything else could wait. “Adopt the pace of nature,” Emerson wrote, “her secret is patience.”
And with that thought, the hawk took flight, its wide, brick-red tail disappearing into the afternoon sky. It was a fine message the hawk brought me. Patience would be my watchword.
Colleen Hughes is the editor-in-chief of Angels on Earth. She's been at Guideposts for 20 plus years, and lives in a Hudson River town with her two daughters and two cats.