About Windhover


When we first moved to 15 acres of rural Platte County, MO. nearly 20 years ago, it seemed that the place was home to more hawks than I had seen in one place before. Perhaps a little of that feeling came from the joy of finally getting to live in “the country,” after my mythical growing up experiences playing on my grandparents’ farms.

The hawks were indeed here, hovering above our acreage, joining me as I mowed the fields with my little Ford 9N tractor. As I uncovered the field mice or rabbits or snakes, the hawks would suddenly appear and take notice of what I was doing. We seemed to be working in tandem, although I was actually pulling for the field mice.

The visions of hawks in the air or gliding down skimming across the top of the grass or just hovering still in the palm of a strong south breeze led me back to a poem I had not read since college: “The Windhover” by Gerard Manley Hopkins. As I read it again I felt what Hopkins must have felt, and these words stuck:

“My heart in hiding stirred for a bird–
the achieve of, the mastery of the thing.”

From then on, Marcia and I have called our little postage stamp of ground–Windhover.