On mornings when we’re running late, feeling the edges of our words a little too sharply as we toss them around at one another, on drives when the volume from the backseat reaches deafening decibels, on those days especially, witnessing unexpected beauty changes everything. This weekend, as we drove home from town Sunday afternoon, we glanced around the river as we crossed the bridge. There, perched high in a leafless tree, was this gorgeous bald eagle. We watched, the frustration of the morning melting away as we shared this moment.
* * *
“Do you think we’ll see another eagle?” Calder asks climbing into the van.
“I’m not sure, Buddy. We’ll try.”
As we’re all settled in, I can’t help but smile, pleased that they remember our encounter the day before, and proud of their excitement. I’m not sure who’s more excited about these sighting – me or the kids. Crossing the bridge at a barely noticeable speed, we’re each scanning the trees. Nothing. When I take a left turn at the library, instead of heading on towards home, Calder squeals.
“Let’s check just one more place,” I say as they cheer. We follow the road along the river, still searching, hoping. Then, just as the river bends away from the road, I see stark white and rich brown. “I see one!” Edging the van to the side of the road, I climb out. As Calder and I watch, we see another younger eagle take flight, soaring over our heads and on toward another riverfront tree.
“Excuse me.” I turn around and see a woman calling to us from her car. “Are you alright?”
Smiling I say, “We’re fine. Just watching the bald eagles.” The woman nods and drives away. Watching her go, in the same direction the eagle flew, I’m amazed that these magnificent birds, seemingly abundant in our area, can go completely unnoticed by so many people. Yet, those of us lucky enough to catch a glimpse, continue searching the trees and watching the gray winter skies for the arcs of their impressive wings…hoping.