Heckled By ParrotsBlue Sky WritingRebecca K. O'Connor

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Better Living Through Falconry

America is obsessed with our food, or rather everyone else’s food.  Your officemates will surely examine your packed lunch and comment that it looks healthy or delicious (fattening) and then maybe make comparisons to what they themselves will be, should be or shouldn’t be eating.

I spent six months losing 25 pounds the hard way—less calories in and more calories out. And the question I’ve gotten the most is, “How did you do it?” As if there was some magical formula other than eating less and exercising more. And less calories it turned out, means eating like Michael Pollan suggested in The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

      eat food, not too much, mostly plants

People also ask me what I’m doing to keep the weight off. What I’m doing, I think it’s fair to say is embracing my falconry season.  Falconry is 360 degrees of grounding, how to eat, live and appreciate.  And it might even help with the last fifteen pounds.  What it is surely going to do though is get my head back on straight.

These are my lifestyle suggestions.

Embrace the day early
Falcons fly best at dawn, when the air is crisp and the world is just beginning to move. This is when you start your day, just as the dark is fading. Insight and motivation come when you wake with the wilderness and when you amplify the caffeine in your system with the burst of adrenaline that comes with the whistle and percussion of duck wings bursting from the water.  The cold air, rising native hum and burst of desperate desire to succeed will stay with you all day.  
You will be inspired.

Stay in Shape or Face the Consequences
And when one set of wings beating their demand against the air, laboring for immediate lift and evasion meet another set of wings — wings slicing through the molecules in a race to fall faster, harder and to win  – you better get to the explosion. You won’t be the only predator awake, you must get to your falcon in a sprint that doesn’t falter, with lungs that handle air as deftly as the avian colliders. Your ability to run, it turns out, is life or death for a falcon you never want to lose, but will. You legs and lungs will secure you one more day.  
You will get to the gym.

Photo by Rick Sellers of Hank Shaws Ducks in the Orchard Recipe

Hank Shaw's "Ducks in the Orchard" Recipe at www.honest-food.net

Engage, Appreciate and Taste
So much can go wrong, it is impossible not to revel in the gift of success, of food. Food is a gift and a sacrifice. Truth is that the duck was just as admirable as the falcon, just a beautiful and it hurts the heart a little, but at least your hands were on this moment. You know that your food, the falcon’s food, lived the life a duck is meant to live and that you were able to bring humanity at its end, something most wild animals do not get, something honestly, most of your food isn’t offered.  This is honest food. Most hunters feel this way. You will taste this meal because you’ll be savoring it. You won’t eat it in the car or gulp it down so you can get to the next task; it will be an experience. All of your meals will be flavored with this one. 
You won’t overeat.

So get up, get out, TOUCH nature.

Oh. And please stop staring at my lunch.


  1. Laura Culley says:

    So many humans are so disconnected with the wild world that they have no clue what’s involved in their hamburger. Falconry reconnects you with that reality and its raw beauty. Nicely written Rebecca!

  2. “Truth is that the duck was just as admirable as the falcon, just as beautiful…”

    So true!