One of my favorite encounters in nature happened around a decade ago.  On a magical sunny day I was walking the Rivanna Trail, I came upon a babbling brook and crossed the stepping stones to the other side.  I then entered a deep part of the forest.  I continued walking under the greenery when suddenly I heard the call of a hawk.  My first thought was “where is he?”  I heard its keering voice calling out and then realized that I was approaching a part of the trail in which there was an opening in the canopy of the trees.  As I looked up into the open blue sky, I saw the hawk with its gorgeous buffy crescents and reddish chest…it was a Red Shouldered Hawk!  Shortly upon seeing him, I saw his mate enter the scene.  They kept circling together with the radiant sun shining on their backs calling out to one another.  I can’t speak for the hawks, but at that precise moment time stood still – I was at peace, I felt that God and the Universe chose me to rejoice in such a life changing union of oneness.  I will always relish and remember this as one of my first initiations into the connectedness of nature.  Years later, I would discover that the Red Shouldered Hawk is the spirit animal for my throat chakra.  How impactful that these raptors who were speaking their truth on that day long ago should choose to emphasize the need for me to embrace my voice.  From this day forward, I shall honor the power of the energy and beauty of these majestic beings….and all the other wonders that nature provides.  ~ Finn