Saturday, April 13, 2013
I have been watching the delicate lethal talons of eagles rearrange lichen in their nest high in a fir tree. I have watched those talons and those beaks that could shear my fingers in an instant gently turn eggs, settling them down again into the soft needles and fluff, and then seen the huge birds settle down to keep their babies..or their babies to be…warm and safe through the storms. It looks loving to me, but the biologists who watch the cameras with me warn against such sentimental thoughts. But still..there is such a sense of miracle. The timing, the odds against this vibrant and free life. The eagle pair is an experienced and bonded pair; they’ve raised a number of north coast eagles to maturity; indeed one came back for a visit during the pre egg days.
All day long my spirit is with those eagles, my mind strays to the nest. Yes, it is an odd obsession, but it is a sure bridge for me over the difficult waters of the tumult and rush of life banging these days at my door and my heart.
April is a beautiful and challenging month. It is a month of new life, of the budding grapes and the wildflowers. There are birthdays and memories. It’s the month I decided I might as well keep living, and found I had made a glad choice.
Twenty years ago I lay my body down in the long sweet meadow grass of April and wished I could simply rest there forever, sink into death, into the heart of the fertile earth. Be stone, or leaf. I wanted my mind still, my broken heart quieted, my exhausted body finally resting. I wanted just to leave and to take my fragile, sick youngest child along with me to that rest, where we would surely be cared for, where it wouldn’t matter, where nothing could harm us. I am, after all, a good mother.
Yeah, I know the edge pretty well. With help I turned back then, and as I say, I have been glad. There has been a lot more time, more love, more balancing in that difficult path we all take, this journey of ours.
But sometimes, particularly in April, I think back to that green meadow.
Oh, but I wouldn’t have seen the eagles.
Or passed these last few weeks of banging on the door: an accident, a cat to cradle into death, a good dog and his desperate person. The news from far away and from close at hand of acts of compassion or courage (and sometimes maybe they are the same).
I slip back to the eagles a lot, in between the tumult. There is something about that precision and care they show, moving the eggs, calling to each other, ripping some fish into eagle food, braving the storms that spangle their feathers with drops of rain—there is something in these that is for me healing and inspiration. Twenty years ago the eagles were not nesting in this region; they had died because of DDT and lead pellets. Now there are at least a few known (or sort of known, people do not blab the locations) nests, and generations of eagles rising.
I believe in eagles, whose return would have seemed impossible. I think especially at the edge of things, in the dark nights and in the barrage of alarm and frustration, it is good to know the impossible isn’t really that at all. Or that a bit of unseen crazy bravery might just change the world. We do keep trying.
And whatever happens, April breaks forth into blossom.