When your house falls down in a pile of sticks around you and you have no insurance, I suppose it’s a good time to leave and start a new life. That’s exactly what happened to a neighbor youth this week.
One day, there he was, everything fine and dandy and the next….well, all was in ruins. Mom and dad were nowhere to be seen, off on a lark of their own now that the kid was grown up enough to be on his own. I wonder, though, if they had something to do with the house falling apart or if nature alone played the starring role in that.
To be sure, the kid had matured and was capable of making a living for himself. I mean, how long did he figure he could just sit there day after day, waiting for mom and dad to bring him rabbits and squirrels and voles and shrews? Maybe even a young duckling now and then? The folks had to eat, too. Yep, it was time for junior to fend for himself.
Oh, he resisted. My neighbor Rose saw him make a futile attempt to patch up the nest before most of it tumbled over the cliff in his front yard. I suppose it was hunger that finally drove him to leave. Or maybe it was the few fine days of sunshine that made us all want to spread our wings and soar over this magnificent country.
Anyway, he finally took that first step. Just leaped off the cliff and spread his wings, now fully fledged and made for catching the updrafts that inhabit these mountains.
We can put away the spotting scopes for a while, or train them on the mountain goats or bears that roam the mountainsides. It was a wonderment, though, watching the parents construct the nest and line it with dry dead grasses, take turns sitting on the egg, seeing the chick's stark white head for the first time, marveling at the adults rending game and feeding it to him, holding our breath as the black bear circled the cliff top and bottom trying to get to the nest. Then, as his brown feathers began to grow, he sat on the edge of the stick nest and surveyed his kingdom. Maybe those eagle eyes watched us in return.
Farewell and fare well, little golden eagle. May you always have the wind beneath your wings.