Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Feathers from the Breath of God

Yesterday someone in the neighborhood mentioned that he'd found some feathers he'd been unable to identify. He went into his tool shop and pulled them out. They were bald eagle feathers; they couldn't have been anything else. He told me where he'd found them and said that there seemed to be a nest under construction. I hotfooted it to the spot and put the glasses on it: a typical eagle stick structure.

We know there are a few bald eagles around, but to have them building a nest close by is more than a little exciting. I've been hearing crows mobbing something in the early mornings in the direction of the nest, but assumed it was an owl. Crows like mobbing eagles even more than they like mobbing owls. The eagles try to ignore them, but the crows are amazingly persistent. If an eagle is standing on the beach trying to look regal, there will almost certainly be two or three crows yanking its tail feathers, making it look ridiculous. Into every eagle's life, it seems, a few crows must come.

My daily hike has switched back to the morning: even with Daylight Saving Time the sun sinks too quickly to linger outside in the evenings. The unusually cool weather continues to the delight of some and the despair of others: if really hot days make you feel dreadful, then it's been a great summer. If you're trying to grow vegetables or fruit, then for many the summer has been a disaster. Snatches of conversation in passing speak of unripened tomatoes, grapes three weeks behind and nervousness about early rains. The apples seem to be fine, and it's a big crop.

I've just tied together some significant feathers from this summer, winding the quill ends with a bit of red yarn. They were gifts from a wild turkey, a fledgling great horned owl, one of its parents, and one of the eagles, whose feather was lying on the ground underneath the nest. Omens again; today I went to the ocean and saw a mother grey whale and her calf close into shore, harvesting a school of baitfish. Animals seem to have played a big part in my life this year, though I cannot say why; yet for that blessing I give great thanks.


Blogger Janet Atkins said...

I love this piece. It reminds me of so many places on this earth that I love. I remember watching whales with you and being overwhelmed with amazement. Thank you for reminding me of the wonder.

1:56 pm, August 21, 2010  

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