Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Day of the Eagle

Yesterday I took the dogs out for their very early morning walk up the road at the lake. Boo ran ahead with his friends, Koko lagged behind. Nothing different than usual. But as I passed a camp a few down from ours, I saw this huge bird flying over the water. "A heron," I immediately guessed. Then realized what I had seen.

I ran home to find Bob already out on the deck with his camera. I was chased down the hill by our dear friend Martha who was yelling to us to "Look! Look!" She was followed by her three dogs running circles around her and barking.

We all met up on the deck and she pointed him out to me. All I could see was a triangle in a far tree, but she assured me that was our eagle. He had first been sighted by my brother-in-law when he was out kayaking this summer. Martha and her husband saw him fairly regularly after that. We were never so privileged until just then.

Bob went down to get our kayak in the water and we were joined by an elderly woman who walks her three golden retrievers about the same time we're out there. Martha did the honors, then told us how she had launched herself one time to take a photo and tipped over, camera and all. So now we were four crazed adults and eight dogs - 7:30 AM, remember.

Bob got his photo - amazing! To think that one of those magnificent creatures lives in our neck of the woods. We saw the male - and by golly he looks just like an eagle! Martha says there's a female out there, too.

He flew away, Bob took the dogs home, Martha went off to work, and I was left to deal with all the mortgage and real estate woes of the past week. It was a gorgeous day - the lake was smooth as glass, the sun was warming, and shoot - why not? I put on a sweatshirt, shorts, took off my sneakers and trundled the kayak down to the water.

I paddled around the point and down the lake. The wind was coming at me from the south, so I knew I'd have an easy time returning. No one was around - no boats or people on shore. I paddled and paddled. About the fifth mile down I let out a breath. I was breathing again. I took several deep breaths and kept on.

My goal was a camp I had sold a few years ago. I still see the owners regularly, but it's barely accessible by car so going by water is the better way. But since it's at the south end of the lake, I hadn't gotten there in my kayak or before that the canoe. I made it - the camp looks great - and then I started back, feeling satisfied that I had accomplished one goal at least.

The rest of the day I spent at the lake, reading, napping, doing work as it came my way. "Have you heard anything yet?" was the phrase everyone used. No, nothing yet, was my reply. The world had stalled.

That night we watched the President looking scared and delivering a speech to tell us that we are in difficult economic times. He had plans for it all, however, and we needed to rely on him and his cohorts to save us from ourselves. That message wasn't going over well in my house.

But this is the country that embraces the bald eagle. Somehow having seen that bird, free and unfettered, I realized the hope I believe in was within sight.