Monday, January 23, 2006

Bald Eagle

The Bald Eagle, an icon that so sadly is burdened with being the “…last refuge of the scoundrel” is a spectacular animal. It's even more spectacular when viewed minus the tedious overlay of self-congratulatory myth and jingoistic self-aggrandizement with which we have nearly smothered it.

It sits on the bare branch of the oak, deep in the stream ravine, its fresh bloody lunch pinned to the branch with one taloned claw. Slowly and in leisurely fashion, it peels strips of flesh from the dripping carcass, like you or I would eat a piece of string cheese—if we could hold it with our toes.

Carelessly, it tosses the bits of flesh into the air and gobbles them down. It’s easy to try and anthropomorphize, to humanize the bird, but it’s much more rewarding to try and imagine what it’s like to sit on that branch and eat that bloody lunch with its metallic savor.

Eventually, I spook it; it flies off deeper into the woods and disappears from sight, the blithly abandoned carcass dropping to the forest floor to the delight of the scavengers.

The cats will both be indoor cats from now on.

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