A hundred yards ahead, the bald eagle has already spotted me working my canoe slowly upstream toward him in the narrow slough. Is it the same wary one I've been spotting in here all summer? The one that flees each time I round a bend, only to spurn me again 'round the next and the next?
Oh my, a silent voice wells up from my ancient spirit, You beautiful creature! This time, please don't be afraid. This time, let me share a moment of wonder with you.
I paddle silently against the high-water current, gaining a foot or two with each careful stroke. My intentions, as well as my eyes, are fixed on the bird. I know you see me, I breathe. Don't be afraid; I won't harm you, my noble friend.
At the very moment my emotions overflow in tears the bird turns his snowy head and looks down knowingly into my awestruck eyes.
Soon, I'm passing the spot where the roots of his pedestal grasp the grassy bank. Concerned now with being too close, I've averted my eyes and kept to the far side of the channel. Still, I repeat my mantra. You are safe with me. All I want is to admire you, celebrate with you the splendid freedom we share.
When I've gone a ways past the eagle, I turn my bow out into the main current, crossing the narrow stream and drifting right toward his perch.
Again I'm staring at him, having to look nearly straight up now. He's looking around. Do you still notice me, or have you spotted something more interesting to an eagle than I? Do you share even a hint of the fascination I feel?
Directly under the magnificent bird now—maybe 30 feet away—my heart swells with a sense of privilege, gratitude for the knowing acceptance this splendid wild being has shown me. Emotion moves up through my throat, and at the very moment it overflows in tears the bird turns his snowy head and looks down knowingly into my awestruck eyes.
|The eagle turns his head and looks right down at me.|