My introduction to a female Coopers Hawk over a decade ago was one that I call Holy, a thin space that Celtic Christianity describes as the place where Gods presence comes ever so close to us. I had lost much. Physically I watched as my body slowly started falling apart, with spinal surgeries and procedures which led to a life of chronic pain and one huge wrestling match with God. Paralleling such chronicity were occasional meetings, glimpses of a female Cooper’s Hawk that nested on the grounds of Second Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee.
I called her Grace because she would appear out of nowhere during my trials of pain. She would dive after unsuspecting prey, most times unsuccessful but always acrobatic and amazing in her maneuvers through the trees and vegetation. During such occasions, my pain would seem far away, that in itself, an occasion for Gods Grace to give me a respite from pain. I determined that as an artist and a follower of God, the only way I could both ponder my own situation and struggle with God was through carving this beautiful Coopers Hawk and the pose would be just as I had seen her which was in flight.