I see the osprey on the wire. The sunlight bounces off the white sheet of snow that covers the yard. Its head turns from side to side. I grab my binoculars and focus on it. I jump back as it stares at me. I’m certain it knows I am watching.
The bird flies across the street in front of the neighbor’s house. It perches on a power line. It waits. I wait.
Oh no, I see a plump gray squirrel come out of its nest of leaves. The squirrel freezes on the trunk of the big maple tree. The osprey is motionless on the wire. Approximately fifty feet separate the two. I know that they see each other.
The three of us wait together. Minutes go by and none of us move. Finally the squirrel moves its head to one side. Its body remains still on the tree trunk. The osprey doesn’t move.
The squirrel crawls down a few inches. It knows that if the osprey takes flight it will have time to run back into a hole. The osprey doesn’t move. I am holding my breath. My eyes can’t look elsewhere. I don’t want to watch but I do.
The squirrel begins to move down the tree. It makes a decision. It begins to run. The squirrel is crossing the street. I think it is going to make it. It runs under the white picket fence.
I see the flap of wings. The osprey swoops into my front yard. The squirrel has no chance. In an almost lazy way the bird’s talons grasp the squirrel. The osprey spreads its wings wide and I can see it pushing the soft body of the squirrel into the snow.
I can’t move even though I want to. It seems like forever. The head of the osprey swivels as it continues to press down on its prey. Five minutes have passed.
Suddenly the osprey lifts off. It soars across the street into the park. I see the limp body of the squirrel dangling from the bird’s talons.