Sunday, February 24, 2008

A quiet week

I've been too busy to blog...and may stay busy for another week or so with editorial duties. Hawking continues, but a good day afield doesn't necessarily translate to a good story. Meanwhile, I see my mouse-and-vole post has attracted no attention (or at least no comments) whatsoever. And that's fine. Any falconer who reads this knows some days are just like that. And non-falconers have no particular reason to care.

Actually, falconers sometimes have reason to be grateful for the apathy of the outside world. The alternative is often hostility, scorn, or at least disbelief of the things we care about:

Ye ryse before day, and sodeinly run out of the doores, as though thine enimies were at the threshold, and all the day after ye run about the pondes and waters, woodes, and bushes, filling the ayre with sundry outcries and evil favoured houlings. And in this pastime ye spende your breath, which is meet for some greater matter; with whiche spirit your forefathers made their enimies afearde in battayle, and in peace mainteyned iustice. At nyght when ye come home, as though ye had achieved some great enterprice, ye syt within doores, declaring how well that byrde flue, and how well this byrde hath endued his meate: How many feathers of the trayne, and how many of the winges are remaining or lost. Is not this all your skyll? Is not this your love? Is not this your felicitie? And is not this al whiche ye requite to God your Creator, to your countrey that bredde you, to your parentes that begate you, to your friends that love you, to wit, your Sparhawkes, or your ernshawes [herons?] skimming in the ayre, and some piece of a torn foule, and swet, and dust, and your nyghtly storie of your lost daie? Unto this ye be always valiaent and unweeried, and unto earnest business, weake and daintie.

—Francis Petrarch, "Reason's answer to Joy". Thomas Twyne translation, 1579. I ran across this in Nick Fox's Classical Falconry. And yes, this be my love, my felicity, and all my skill.

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