Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fly Like an Eagle

Fly Like an Eagle

I swung a wide left out of the school parking lot. I downshifted as the colors up ahead slid from yellow to red. The boy grinding through the gears of his Mustang Turbo GT (circa mid-'80s) in the lane next to mine cut his horsepower by half.

But he wasn't looking at the approaching light. He had his eyes on the sky.

I put on my brakes and gazed up toward the clouds. I don't usually mimic the behavior of teenaged miscreants, but then my vision fixed at about mid-point between the road and the clouds high above us.

We both, I'm sure, held our breaths as a bald eagle rode the cold January currents only he could feel to snag a hapless brown squirrel, which had been minding his own business in the median in front of Our Humble High School.

The impatient crowd behind us, forced to slow as we watched one of the most graceful of Passion Plays, didn't honk, didn't gesture. Those drivers, too, ceased their urge to scurry home as they watched Mother Nature do her work.

As the eagle reached under the squirrel with his talons, I knew that what I saw at that moment was both the majesty and the horror inherent in our national symbol.

I rubbed one eye with a balled-up fist, not wishing to witness the persecution of the tiny mammal but at the same time transfixed by the action unfurling before me. No Spielberg could have choreographed such drama, such pitiful hopelessness, as the squirrel put up but a half-hearted struggle, dangling high above the road.

And then, in one majestic swoop, they were gone.

The boy in the Mustang raised his right fist in a salute, to both me and the huge bird of prey. For a flashing millisecond, he forgot about cool and surrendered to his inner child, awed by a performance that, I'm sure, we'll both be talking about well into our post-sedentary years.

He turned his head. He smiled. And then he accelerated, reaching 60 before I'd had a chance to catch my breath.

Editor's Note: While the events described above are entirely true, I don't have photographic evidence to share with y'all. And yes, this drama was played out on a 4-lane thoroughfare in front of a suburban DC high school. The photo above was snapped on the Fox River in NE Wisconsin by my youngest, Ella Numera Dos.


Tracy P. said...

Awesome story! We see those fairly frequently around here, but it is awe-inspiring every time.

Vodka Logic said...

Wow I have never seen an eagle in nature. What you describe is awesome. Sure it seems "cruel" but the eagle has to eat.

We have lots of hawks which are cool to watch.

Snuggle Wasteland said...

How cool! I've never seen an Eagle flying around here. I'm surprised there wasn't a traffic pileup while everyone gawked.

Courtney said...

that's awesome! wow!

Cheryl said...

Isn't there a nesting site in DC? Thought I saw that in the news.

I'd have loved to be there to witness this. I love all the big birds. So graceful and powerful.

Jeanie said...

A great description of nature in action and the boy's rection.

Susie said...

What a great sighting!

Jenn @ Youknow...that Blog? said...

Well told, Scribe! Something you will always remember, I know. I was driving through the Rockies between Alberta and BC with my husband and not-yet-born daughter (aka the Teen) many years ago and happened to glance to my right as we passed by a beautiful scenic area; a small lake surrounded by snow laden trees. What made it even more gorgeous and forever etched in my brain was the bald eagle smoothly scooping a fish barely beneath the surface and continuing on in the most graceful maneuver I've ever witnessed. Absolutely awe-inspiring!

Thanks for sharing your new memory, which brought my old one back to savor.

Betty Manousos @ CUT AND DRY said...

I have never seen an eagle in nature either.
Great story, Melissa! My heart hurts when realizing the Nature laws.

Thanks for sharing this post.

Have a wonderful day!

B xx

blueviolet said...

I'm not sure I've ever seen one out in the wild. That's so neat!

mama-face said...

OH this is the best. I love the image of the boy fist pumping the air. You captured such a great snapshot story, figuratively speaking. ;)

Kristin said...

That is freaking awesome! What an experience!

Sarah said...

Well written!

Tara R. said...

So cool to see an eagle free and soaring.

TortugaRachel said...

That woulda been soooo awesome to behold. How wonderful that you were able to witness that, and thank you for putting it down so eloquently for us to share!

Melva said...

Awesome story. How rare and special.......I'm sure if the kid had enough wits to catch seeing it..he's probably talked about it too! Cool.

StarTraci said...

Wow! When I lived in California, we had a very large cat that hung out on our porch. Thank goodness, we had a screen because an eagle decided that our cat looked very tasty. He finally gave up after three diving attempts through the screen.

Tracy said...

Wow! Eagles are one of the most beautiful birds out there, and to see something so amazing, yet sad at the same time, happen is just breath taking. Although it hurts to see nature in work by the eagle swooping down to get it's prey, it's also not every day you get to see something like that happening. Nature in itself is just amazing, and something we all tend to ignore everyday due to our busy lifes. I think everyone should sometimes just stop, and take a look around outside, and maybe you'll see something amazing like this happening.

carma said...

Great story - well, except for the squirrel - bummer :-(


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