PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: We followed the trail past the last of the caged raptors and were surprised to find ourselves on a broad terrace along a mountainside, high over a valley. Above the terrace were a series of curved, stone steps forming a small amphitheater overflooking the spectacular landscape. We hadn't known there'd be a show until the gauntleted falconer arrived with a raptor fresh from its mews.
Some of the birds in the show did the kinds of things you'd expect over a valley. The large ones sometimes flew so far out they were small and then gone, and two of them were gone so long that the falconer moved to the next act. Once a wild hawk came by to fly a few do-se-dos with our performer, and then the two playmates went off for a loop around the valley, but as soon as the performing bird was back on the terrace, the rapt bond between bird and birdman was cinched as if it had never been broken.
What is that metaphysical bond that transcends species, puts bird and man on one wavelength? Watching their eyes, it seemed far deeper than the bechins the falconer doled to the beast.