The story of The Hawk is two parts. Feb 2020 while I was watching TV in my front room - i heard a crazy loud sound which I thought must have been a wreck on my small street in front of my house. I immediately got up to check and there was nothing - everything was totally still. A few hours later this beautiful perfect hawk was discovered next to my front steps. It must've flown into the rod iron (that I've always hated) on my front porch at top speed and broken its neck😔. I sat with it for a while and like anyone would ;), I decided to put it in the freezer so I could figure out a way to memorialize. Part two: while I felt what everyone was feeling during the shelter in place, I found overwhelming joy watching the natural world thrive. My daily walks to the park down the street from my house were filled with many new creatures who had found the courage to venture out with the lack of sound and people. I was able to observe behaviors and new species and even visit the same favorite turtle in the creek day after day because the normally murky water was so clear. It was finally getting a break from long time storm drain dumping and was thriving! I actually observed several very large Spiny softshell turtles laying eggs. It was incredible ! 10 mins from downtown Atlanta - my own little natural oasis. I was giddy on my walks everyday.
July 1st 2020, the second I stepped foot into the park - the whole thing smelled like it would go up in flames. There was a clear rainbow sheen on the top of the creek which turned out to be a massive petroleum dump. It flowed for 24 hours and caused catastrophe in the creek. What managed to survive was killed a few weeks later by a massive cooking grease dump. I was devastated. All my favorite creatures were gone and there was nothing I could do but grieve and be angry and feel defeated. During this moment - this image was born. While very different for me, in some ways I think it is the best picture I have ever made. It communicates everything so simply.
I am grateful to live in a caring neighborhood who, after my tearful FB post, immediately jumped into action. I am most grateful to Fletcher Sams and Jake Carpenter of Altamaha River Keeper - they each put enormous time and effort into looking for the culprit and helping keep Atlanta Watershed's eye (& its investigators) on the situation. Several years later there are still issues - and the creek isn't what it was during shelter in place but it is better.