February 2011 Archives

Eagle Snow Angel

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Starting a new blog is a bit like...

...like what?Eagle Wingprints with Barn.JPG

I've kept a blog during a fieldwork season in Ecuador. And I started one that never went anywhere as part of a class support project for an ethnobotany course I teach. Aside from that, I have no claim to being able to describe what starting a new blog feels like.

So, I'll just jump in with an entry about eagles making snow angels.

Nearly daily we see eagles and hawks stalking the field beyond the barn. The plethora of meadow voles out there has got to be a magic draw for raptors coasting along about a mile inland from Lake Superior. I've seen them sitting in what I am coming to think of as the Raptor Perch, a lightning blasted popple on the edge of the meadow offering just the right combination of cover and view to draw big birds in to check out the possibilities for a quick meal while they rest. They spend a lot of time circling the field, too, and I've seen hawks dive and wing away with prizes still wriggling in their talons.

But I've never seen an eagle scream down, take prey and sail away.

Now I have some evidence they do come to earth, but it is ephemeral and magical evidence.

One morning, my son, Roshi, and I went out for a ski. Over night the lake effect had dusted our place with less than an inch of powdery new snow. Some time in the twenty minutes or so before we set out to ski, an eagle landed, hopped a few feet, flapped its wings, and lifted back into the sky, leaving a perfect snow angel on the ground.

But that wasn't sufficient enough magic--the bird must have circled round and done it again, because there were two perfect imprints of landings, a few hops, and wings taking flight left in the snow.Eagle Wingprints close-up.JPG

The blessings and banes of being a neophyte human citizen of the land community on 43 cutover acres of northern Wisconsin will be the focus of this blog. Join in with comments if you feel inclined. I have a lot to learn about living an emplaced life.

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