Eaglewatch – Thunderous Gravel

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July 2009

It’s not often in life you get to sit, on a rainy day, on a thunderous gravel road, nine thousand feet above the earth’s lowest point. The White Mountains in Arizona is where I find myself today. And when I say find, I really mean, find a place inside that embraces the nurture of nature.

A rain and hail storm just passed. It hammered the gravel road. White pellets swept into drifts along the edges. More ominous , slate-gray clouds hover over Mt. Baldy, building in rage and slowly shifting east; shifting straight towards me. In this lull, the quiet of the storm, the land is not quiet. Rumbling rolls over the meadow as the first storm journeys into New Mexico to continue its rampage on high. Monsoons.

The meadow, though seemingly still, no wind stirring the grasses; chirps and tweets as Brewers blackbirds, flit about sipping the moisture from the knee-deep blades of green. The horned lark and killdeer run and pause, run and pause, calling out to their mates and skittering across the road.

It is the ending of a beginning and a beginning, again. My sabbatical, my healing journey is coming to an end. The journey to eagles – of eagles, has healed me.  It has presented me with another view of life and numerous choices for the future. You either jump into life on your own, or like the Crescent eaglet, the winds of change will send you into the atmosphere with the full reality of gravity fast approaching. And in that moment, you grow…you grow wings and you fly.

I am waiting for the adult male eagle to return. He brings a fish to the perch of the newly fledged eaglet. The branch is too, narrow. He drops the fish. Puzzled, he looks through the thick canopy, searching for a glimpse of silver among the scattered debris of the pine forest floor. The young eaglet looks on with a curious tilt to his head. 

I am amazed every day of the tolerance and patience the eagles display amidst the odds of weather and human interruption on their landscape. It strikes a forgotten, yet tangible chord within me. Since my beginnings with eagles, the chord within me is a constant hum. I am now finding patience and tolerance, not just with others and the myriad of things life throws my way, but mostly within and for myself.

This is the ending of that beginning – the eaglets have flown and my job is over. Six months in the field – with desert and now mountains and tomorrow I go home to begin again. They say times are tough, work is hard to find, life may not present itself the way I expect, but the winds of change surely will come. I think I now have the patience I desire and the tolerance to persevere. If I ever doubt that my dreams can come true, I can look back and picture this thunderous gravel road and watch the young eagle wait out the storm.

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