That’s not its real name, of course. The 1950s survey map marked it ‘Beacon Hill’, indicating it once had a navigation light long before the cell phone tower that now tops it. Or it might be Shaver’s Hill, for the family that’s owned the farmland for decades, whose name is on headstones in the town cemetery going back 150 years and whose cows browse our apple trees on occasion.
I drove down this road often before we started house-hunting. I noticed the house at the high point of the road when the For Sale sign went up — a modest ranch bordered by field and woodlot and pond, the hill rising behind it. Although it was empty the lawn remained meticulously mowed (something we’ve never managed). I admired the variety of habitat in such a small area — pine and deciduous woods, dead snags, pasture, pond, wetland and hilltop. So when we needed to find a home with space for children and dogs to run, out of town but not too far, within our means, the little house snugged under the hill spoke to us.
On the day we moved in, the Kestrels that nested in the barn across the field soared by, welcoming us. Kestrel Hill it became.
It’s been 21 years. The yard is a lot shaggier and more overgrown than it once was. We look at old pictures and wonder, when did all those trees grow in? Surely we only planted a few raspberry canes there — how did it become a jungle? But we’re still here, and so are the descendants of the original kestrels from the barn. Just last week I saw one buzzed by dozens of swallows flying off with a swallow in his foot. Yesterday the same male zipped across the fields, hotly pursued by two swallows, a goldfinch, and one determined hummingbird.
It’s a good place for sunsets
It’s powdered or pounded by snow
brushed by hoarfrost or encased in ice.
It’s golden in late winter
and a hundred greens in spring and summer.
We may be menaced by a Scotsman or zeppelin at times
but we’ve got a trebuchet to protect us!
Yes, the view from Kestrel Hill is always new.