On Monday as I was driving along the Massachusetts turnpike I luckily spotted a bald eagle perched in a tree. A friend recently recounted an experience in the same part of that road where a bald eagle was flying nearly parallel to her as she drove along. These moments where we spot another species in “the wild” stay with us.
While this was my first bald eagle sighting, it wasn’t my first eagle encounter. Ten years ago I spent a month in Tasmania on the most magical piece of earth cared for by my friend Peter Adams. On one of the hillsides near an ancient she-oak tree, an eagle nearly dive-bombed me. While this was a completely different kind of experience compared to Monday’s observation, I take away similar feelings and gratitude for being present and attentive to my surroundings.
Then yesterday, I was introduced to this poem by Joy Harjo, entitled Eagle.
To pray you open your whole selfTo sky, to earth, to sun, to moonTo one whole voice that is you.And know there is moreThat you can’t see, can’t hear;Can’t know except in momentsSteadily growing, and in languagesThat aren’t always sound but otherCircles of motion.Like eagle that Sunday morningOver Salt River. Circled in blue skyIn wind, swept our hearts cleanWith sacred wings.We see you, see ourselves and knowThat we must take the utmost careAnd kindness in all things.Breathe in, knowing we are made ofAll this, and breathe, knowingWe are truly blessed because weWere born, and die soon within aTrue circle of motion,Like eagle rounding out the morningInside us.We pray that it will be doneIn beauty.In beauty.
And while this college is not filled with eagles, let’s pretend it is.