I remember sitting on top of a mountain, white all around me, hooded eagle in hand. It was one of those days. The sun had gone and I was utterly cold. Frigid. I sat still for twenty minutes on the mountaintop while the valley below was worked, waiting for a potential slip. It was twenty minutes of squinting into white nothingness and feeling nothing. Waiting for the slip isn't a relaxed state. You must be primed for action. Ready to spring into life at a moment's notice - to send the eagle on its way, in an advantageous manner, and gallop to its assistance. Keeping my body and mind coiled in the cold nothingness is exhausting.
Then, like a warm flame - the fox appears and runs. He is the only sign of life in the barren snowscape and his electricity is contagious. Almost immediately, I shed the layer of suffocating cold. The surge of adrenaline, the quick, powerful wingbeats of the eagle, and the artful dodging of the fox spur me on. I speed on my horse through the snow with sudden concentration, and yet I'm also up there with the eagle.
I can tell you that in this picture, I wasn't cold in the slightest. I only remember being happy. It's the power of falconry. The power of doing something that you love.