The Bald Eagle
By Lin Stone

Bird Watching is America's #1 sport, and there is
one bird everyone wants to see.  Here's my story
of the first time I saw him in natural flight.

It was huge, 
a bird, 
a strange bird, 
lifting from the cold winter mist on my right.  

What kind of bird was it?  

My eyes strained.
A crane?  

It had the strangest markings for a crane I'd ever seen.  

It was white on both ends, and then gray in the middle?  
No, by golly it was so brown it was almost BLACK 
in the middle!  

Then the full grown American Bald Eagle turned slightly 
and passed in review only a few feet before my very eyes.  

Always Fun
Always Entertaining
Practice to get your speed up,
Then invite your friends over and
Invite Them to beat your time -- IF THEY CAN!

  

I admit unashamed that my mouth dropped open in awe as I watched this symbol of America with a four foot wing span fly before me.  Its strength was serene.  Its power was barely tapped.  Its concern for my presence was invisible.  Secure in the knowledge it was protected by the laws of God and man, the eagle hewed straight for its distant mark and finally passed from my sight.

After a long moment I turned and marked the spot.  I was on highway 71 coming from Fort Smith Arkansas towards Texarkana and about 1.5 miles beyond the town of Abbot.  There was a large chicken barn to the east from whence the eagle had lifted.  I wondered if the eagle had feasted on a chicken carcass that early morn.

I would gladly have chipped in the cost of the chicken to see that symbol of America fly again before my eyes.  

The eagle was sacred in America long before the first Euromericans arrived.  The eagle was so sacred that just to hold an eagle's feather in one's hand was a privilege.  Even today, tribal members sent to die in the hospital will often recover after holding an eagle feather while the medicine man prays.  

The first time an eagle's feather was used to bless me 
I could feel a new power added to my heart and shoulders.

.Symbols are powerful.  

Yes.  The Stars and Stripes represent America too, 
but brings to mind the massive military might needed 
at the battles front.  What is the flag but a scrap of 
material with bright colors emblazoned thereon.  
Yet, as a symbol, our flag unites the nation.  

What is the eagle but a large bird that even a small pack 
of sparrows can drive from their territory?  
Yet, as a symbol, the eagle represents freedom 
for the individual -- the freedom to soar, to worship, 
and to range forever undeterred 
where boundaries cease to exist.

Everyone should have the privilege of personally 

seeing a full grown American Bald Eagle lift up from 
the mists and pass in review right before one's face. 
It is a life-lifting experience I shall always remember.

the end

Click HERE for one more eagle picture.  

p.s.  On a Saturday evening about a month later we were on our way to Sallisaw Oklahoma and there suddenly appeared another full grown bald eagle on our left.  "Is that --?" I asked.  "It IS!"  This one was about 50 feet off the ground.  He paused in front of us then drifted slowly off to the east.  I got the car stopped and jumped out.  My wife is a naturalist.  I know she was not as excited to see him as I was because after she jumped out she grabbed my arm and shouted, "I saw him first, you just talk faster."  Meanwhile, I was too excited to even think of who had seen him first.

p.p.s.  The next morning was Sunday and as usual I had to be at the chapel at 7:00.  Lo and behold, as I passed over a hill about two miles from here a grown Spotted Eagle appeared before me and continued to follow the road in front of me for nearly a mile.  

Since then I have seen a bald eagle soaring over the town ofMena.  I was in the city swimming pool.  When I pointed out the eagle soaring in the sky to my wife, others saw my finger pointing and soon everyone there had found the same thrill I had already had... 

It was their FIRST eagle!

Proud symbol of America.  Photo by Tina Miller.  All Rights Reserved

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