Birds Of A Feather

By and for Bird-People

Eating with a Raptor

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Eating with a Raptor

I am human; I am goshawk. Usually I exist within a blended state that I experience as ‘gryphon,’ but not always – the duality, the shift between human and raptor can be as intensely experienced as the middle state. The senses are one; I have one set of eyes, one nose, one tongue. The processing of information the senses provide – that’s what changes.

It comes out strongly with regards to food. The human can think, “oh, here is rabbit stew, how delicious,” and be separate from the food. There is enjoyment, yes; the feel of it, the taste, the game of trying to identify each spice in a dish. But distractions are ever-present, and there is conversation or a book, and the food sometimes gets pushed to the back burner.

The raptor is different. Give her meat and she’s all over it – her existence is I am eating Rabbit, her whole being is devoted to rabbit. The chase; the fur, the taste, the bones. In that moment, she is not so different from rabbit herself, for it is rabbit that is giving her life. It takes human restraint to keep her from hunching over the meal, to make her use the human teeth. We can’t bolt meat; it will make us sick, but that doesn’t stop her trying. It takes human restraint to not mantle and glare; nobody is going to challenge her for her food. It frustrates her, utensils and plate; rather she would have sharp beak and murderous feet, and tear straight into her meal. Human says, small bites, cut with the knife. Raptor says just eat it.

The bird’s boundaries are porous; she lets everything in, experiences everything at once. A taste of pepper sends her sitting upright, snorting through nostrils that point the wrong way – that was hot! Human takes the lead, smiles at the pleasant burn, takes another bite. The raptor has little interest in pastry or vegetables – she’ll try them, and sometimes even like them, but it’s the meat that brings her out. Human can have that mushroom soup all to itself.

When the animal is strong, my tastes are different. I like vegetables, pastries, soups and sweets; too, I like meat, but it isn’t the same for the human side as it is for the animal. When she is strong, I want meat, and the rarer the better; I crave the tastes of heart and liver. I can get these easily enough; the other humans disdain them. Their loss.

Human worries about respecting another animal, a dead thing to be eaten. Hawk is much less concerned – of course she is respectful; for that animal’s flesh drives her life. Her respect comes in consumption, in eating every scrap, in using the strength the meal gives her to its fullest. Too much worry. Just enjoy your meal. The raptor is the grounding influence, right there with her food.

After a moment, the human, too, can relax, and just enjoy it.

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