Saturday, January 1, 2011

Omens and superstitions

My driveway in Concord, NH, goes slightly down hill toward the street between two late nineteenth century duplexes. As I rolled toward the street, suddenly a hawk appeared and he screeched to a halt mid-air, slipping above my car just in time...or so I thought. The dashboard was covered with tiny, downy feathers. I stopped the car to see if the bird was okay. I looked back up into the part of our driveway where the cars park. No sign of the hawk. I looked again and he had landed with another bird in his talons. This was all the explanation that I needed. As I walked toward him, he lumbered off to my neighbor's yard.

A couple weeks ago as a friend and I drove up the dirt road that leads to Knights' Pond in Alton, an Owl swooped down crossing a few yards in front of our car.

The Chinese together with the Romans saw the Owl as the bird of ill-omen. In China the Owl was common in burial ceramics of the Han-dynasty, which was contemporary with the Roman Empire and to which the Chinese had extensive trade relations. [1]

In China, it is a lucky sign to see or hear songbirds or red-colored birds or Swallows. [2]

Though held in esteem in China, where peacocks were once kept as symbols of status and wealth by the ruling families, the peacock receives only scorn from the rest of the world. [3]

In Asia, Cranes are symbols of longevity and immortality. The White Crane can fly to the heavens and it is a Chinese symbol for "wisdom" and is sometimes called the "heavenly" or "blessed" Crane. Cranes were vehicles of the gods and in China fly them to the "Isle of the Immortals", the legendary home of the eight immortals. A Crane's eggs were used in magic potions to grant eternal life upon its drinkers. [4]

Should I subscribe meaning to my experience this morning with the Cooper's Hawk or with the Owl?