During my forty-fifth summer I did not leave the house. I was stuck in a depression as thick as tar. I had driven my wife and sons away with my habit of questioning their loyalties and predicting their deaths. I was all alone with their old unwanted things — grade school report cards, my wife's heartbreaking nightgown — and the tuna and crackers we saved for earthquakes. I crawled from day to day in a silent stupor, until I heard the two hawks calling to each other in the trees.
I had always thought of the call of the hawk as a hollow, keening cry. I imagined them lonely in their high perch, each uncomforted by the cold eyes, the hard beak of the other. For days I thought we three were companions in sorrow. Then I went to the window to look at them. They were juveniles, still in their spotty plumage. As they called, they flapped from tree to tree, arcing and wheeling. As I watched them chasing one another up and down the air, I saw that they were calling out of triumph, out of joy. I felt short of breath. It was as though an old friend and confidant had laughed right in my face, revealed himself a liar all along.