Monday, August 22, 2011

August 22: Just some eagles

Late yesterday afternoon we visited my sister and family at their lakeside camp. My brother-in-law, father, and two nieces were out in the little beat-up motorboat that my brother-in-law had somehow coaxed back to life, making the most of the day's dying light with one last ride. When they landed at the dock, my five-year-old niece came running up to see us. "How was the boat ride?" we asked her. "What did you see out there?" "Oh, just some eagles," she replied nonchalantly.

Shortly thereafter, as we shared hors d'oeuvres on the deck, we did indeed see a bald eagle, soaring majestically over the island directly across from us. My niece informed us that she wasn't a fan of eagles because they "look mean." As best we can tell, her only frame of reference for an eagle's facial expression is the wooden eagle sculpture that was hanging near our table at The Waterfront Restaurant when we took her out to dinner there recently. For a child, however, the devil's in the details.

What I love is that seeing "some eagles" is almost a non-event for her. I don't think I saw my first bald eagle here in Maine until I was in high school. And it was years more before I began seeing them on a regular basis. Maine's eagle population has made an incredible comeback from the days of DDT--there are over 500 breeding pairs in the state now, and the species has been federally delisted. Eagles soaring over Maine's lakes are becoming a common sight, one that I hope will remain so for my nieces for many years to come.

A wish for my niece:
may bald eagles always soar
in your summer skies.

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