The Raptor



Abram Gabriel


 
© Copyright 2021 by Abram Gabriel



Photo of a hawk eating rabbit.

Good things that happened this past year of infamy.  2020 will be pivotal just like 1929 or the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Or like the Truman years or 1918 or 1945.  Those years will always be associated with certain images in my brain.  I wonder if they are for everyone? 

It must have been some lucky consequence of COVID that fewer cars prowled the suburbs.  That meant suburbia was being reclaimed by wild animals, so very different from our pets or farm animals.  First, foxes were reported in backyards, then there was talk of coyotes, and finally a big hawk or some sort of eagle landed in our front yard, and was busy tearing apart a rabbit. Suddenly, all the other birds in the neighborhood gave their hatchlings a verbal warning, but stayed put in the trees where they had formerly been foraging for food for their insatiable broods.

Meanwhile, the raptor found it all highly amusing but somewhat irrelevant.  I lost all sense of time, so busy was I viewing this magnificent bird, not to mention his morbid mission, eating the disemboweled bunny, which just lay on our grassy lawn.  I tried to determine whether the rabbit was still alive, but quickly concluded that it was indeed dead. In the wild, there's little intentional cruelty.  That too is a human invention. 


I’ve been writing informally since I was a kid.  In November 2010 I had a stroke, and can only communicate a bit, though I have continued to teach. Recently, something clicked in my brain, and I’ve started writing again using a large monitor, a “big-keys” keyboard, and my right thumb.  
     
I am a tenured faculty member in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at Rutgers University.  I have published scientifically in Nature, Science, and the New England Journal of Medicine among other journals as well as a short humanistic essay in Hektoen International.   I was an undergraduate at Harvard and received my MD degree as well as my MPH from Johns Hopkins.




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