Quotes from “H Is for Hawk” by Helen Macdonald

At its heart was a willed loss of control. You pour your heart, your skill, your very soul, into a thing – into training a hawk, learning the form in racing or the numbers in cards – then relinquish control over it. That is the hook. Once the dice rolls, the horse runs, the hawk leaves the fist, you open yourself to luck, and you cannot control the outcome.
Mabel held her wings out from her sides, her head snaking, reptilian, eyes glowing. It felt like I was holding the bastard offspring of a flaming torch and an assault rifle.
Flying a hawk free is always scary. It is where you test these lines. And it’s not a thing that’s easy to do when you’ve lost trust in the world, and your heart is turned to dust.
Ritahas quotedlast year
I learned that hardening the heart was not the same as not caring.
Ritahas quotedlast year
I had taken flight to a place from which I didn’t want to ever return.
Ritahas quoted2 years ago
But I feel ashamed of my nation’s reticence. Its desire to keep walking, to move on, not to comment, not to interrogate, not to take any interest in something peculiar, unusual, in anything that isn’t entirely normal.
poet Marianne Moore: The cure for loneliness is solitude.
They were on the soar.
a small muddle of feathers and gripping talons that stand in mud in the middle of a small field in the middle of a small county in a small country on the edge of winter.
I think of my chastened surprise when Mabel played with a paper telescope. She is real. She can resist the meanings humans give her.
I couldn’t love or understand hawks as much as I do if I’d only ever seen them on screens. I’ve made a hawk part of a human life, and a human life part of a hawk’s, and it has made the hawk a million times more complicated and full of wonder to me.
I had miscalculated her flying weight for weeks. But the narcissism of the bereaved is very great. I thought that the reason the hawk had flown to me was because I had confessed how bad things were. It had made me feel better – and it was this that had made me less offputting to my hawk. I must try to be happier, I told myself. For the hawk’s sake I must.
I close my copy of Bert’s Treatise of Hawks and Hawking with a snap, and as the cover falls my hawk makes a curious, bewitching movement. She twitches her head to one side then turns it upside down and continues to regard me with the tip of her beak pointing at the ceiling. I am astonished. I’ve seen this head-turning before. Baby falcons do it when they play. But goshawks? Really? I pull a sheet of paper towards me, tear a long strip from one side, scrunch it into a ball, and offer it to the hawk in my fingers. She grabs it with her beak. It crunches. She likes the sound. She crunches it again and then lets it drop, turning her head upside down as it hits the floor. I pick it up and offer it to her again. She grabs it and bites it very gently over and over again: gnam gnam gnam. She looks like a glove puppet, a Punch and Judy crocodile. Her eyes are narrowed in bird-laughter. I am laughing too. I roll a magazine into a tube and peer at her through it as if it were a telescope. She ducks her head to look at me through the hole. She pushes her beak into it as far as it will go, biting the empty air inside. Putting my mouth to my side of my paper telescope I boom into it: ‘Hello, Mabel.’ She pulls her beak free. All the feathers on her forehead are raised. She shakes her tail rapidly from side to side and shivers with happiness.
An obscure shame grips me. I had a fixed idea of what a goshawk was, just as those Victorian falconers had, and it was not big enough to hold what goshawks are. No one had ever told me goshawks played. It was not in the books. I had not imagined it was possible. I wondered if it was because no one had ever played with them. The thought made me terribly sad
there were myriad definitions of this thing called tragedy that had wormed its way through the history of literature; and the simplest of all was this: that it is the story of a figure who, through some moral flaw or personal failing, falls through force of circumstance to his doom.
It was a black-and-white photograph my father had taken many years ago of an elderly street-cleaner with a white goatee beard, wrinkled socks and down-at-heel shoes. Crumpled work trousers, work gloves, a woollen beret. The camera is low, on the pavement: Dad must have crouched in the road to take it. The man is bending down, his besom of birch twigs propped against his side. He has taken off one of his gloves, and between the thumb and first finger of his bare right hand he is offering a crumb of bread to a sparrow on the kerbstone. The sparrow is caught midhop at exactly at the moment it takes the crumb from his fingers. And the expression on the man’s face is suffused with joy. He is wearing the face of an angel.
fierce calm that comes from being invisible but seeing everything. Watching, not doing. Seeking safety in not being seen. It’s a habit you can fall into, willing yourself into invisibility. And it doesn’t serve you well in life. Believe me it doesn’t. Not with people and loves and hearts and homes and work. But for the first few days with a new hawk, making yourself disappear is the greatest skill in the world.
Prrt. Prrt. Prrt. One interrogatory note over and over again, like a telephone call from a bird deep in leaves. That’s what pulled me from sleep. The noise came from a chaffinch in the lime tree outside my window, and I lay watching the day grow bright listening to the sound move about in the tree behind the glass. It was a rain call, a beautiful name for a noise like an unanswered question. No one knows why chaffinches make it, but the name comes from an old tradition that it portends bad weather.
But the countryside wasn’t just something that was safe for White to love: it was a love that was safe to write about. It took me a long time to realise how many of our classic books on animals were by gay writers who wrote of their relationships with animals in lieu of human loves of which they could not speak.
The cure for loneliness is solitude.
‘The names usually bestowed upon her are a sufficient index to her character. Such names as “Vampire”, “Jezebel”, “Swastika” or even “Mrs Glasse” aptly fit her, but would ill become a peregrine.’

Не мог бы мне кто-нибудь объяснить, кто такая миссис Гласс и почему она в одном ряду со Свастикой и Иезавелью?

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