I remember when I was just a little boy about the age of five; I found a wounded hawk in my grandfather's field. The first thing that came to my mind was my father for he was an expert on birds. So I left the field running to get him. When I showed my father the hawk, he put his big hand on my shoulder and told me, "I am sorry son. The poor bird is already poisoned from your grandfather's pesticides."
I had given him a sad look and he saw that I was on the verge of tears. "But you will help me put the bird in this cloth and together, we will bring it home."
He took out a large rag from his pocket and had me lay it out. After putting on his work gloves, my father gently picked up the dying bird and wrapped it in the rag like a babe.
He turned to me and put his finger on my chest. "Run home; get out a box, and a bowl of water."
I nodded and as fast as my little legs can carry me, I ran to my grandfather's house to do what my father told me to do. I opened the door, ran up to my room upstairs, found my box of cars, and dumped them all out. Not even bothering to pick them up, I ran back downstairs with the box in hand. I put it on the table, went to the cupboard, got out a small bowl, and filled it up at the sink. My father came in, carrying the hawk gently, and placed it into the box. I handed him the bowl of water and watched as my father placed it by the bird.
"Now I will take this bird," my father had said, pointing his finger at the bird. "Take it to the porch and you watch over it, protecting it from danger."
"What sort of danger, Daddy?" I had asked.
"Cats, dogs, or anything that can eat a wounded hawk," He had answered.
So he carried the hawk out to the porch and placed it on the wooden floor. I followed behind him with my hands behind my back. My father turned to me and said, "You are the bird's guardian. Protect her with your life."
The whole day I was out there, holding a stick in hand, a bucket on my head, and I pretended I was a knight protecting a princess. A couple of my grandmother's cats walked by and I had chased each and every one of them, whacking the stick on the ground, and crying out, "I am Sir Sam! Knight and protector of the little hawk!"
I repeated this act the whole day until it was night fall. I was falling asleep next to the hawk when my parents started to fight. I looked back and watched them fight through the screen door. I sighed and turned to the little hawk.
"Don't worry," I had said to the bird. "Mama and Papa are just mad because Papa has to leave again. He told me he was going to Alaska to study birds-- birds just like you!"
The hawk weakly turned her head towards me and looked up with her big yellow eyes. Her mouth was opening and closing, which has been doing since me and my father found her. I yawned, stretching wide. My grandmother came out and picked me up.
"Time to go to bed, Samuel," She had said. "Say good night to the little birdie."
Rubbing my eyes, I quietly said. "Goodnight Beak."
My grandmother looked at me, smiling. "Is that the name you have given the bird?"
I nodded and placed my head on her shoulder. "Her name is Beak because of what she does to her beak. Open and close, open and
My grandmother carried me in with me asleep on her shoulder. I didn't know that the bird's strange habit with her beak was a sign of her dying.
The next morning, I ran down the stairs to see if Beak had made it through the night. Five minutes later, I was on my mother's lap crying for two reasons: My father had left because my parents are divorcing, and Beak had passed away. I sobbed and sobbed for hours, wishing for them both. Finally, my sobbing ceased, and my grandmother and I went to bury Beak in her garden. For some reason, I felt a bond between Beak and I, and I had hoped she and I will become good friends, but fate came across us. Even though I barely knew her, I remembered her as a friend.