Sunday, July 13, 2008

Peaceful Eagles

Towering Douglas firs, gnarled Garry oaks and arbutus trees with textured reddish trunks rose from a rocky slope that bumped down to the sea. I was on a vigil, and one hundred yards away a mother eagle, perching high, shared my watch. The focus of our attention was a month-old eagle chick, the tenant of a nest atop a 60-foot Douglas fir at the edge of the water. I was spending a day at the nest, watching, photographing and learning. With no company, cell phone, iPod or other modern distractions, I had time aplenty to contemplate.

The patience of both mother and chick was impressive. She would perch sometimes for an hour or more at one spot before flying to another nearby high treetop where she would sit regally watching the sea, the passing boats and her chick; she had no compulsion to keep constantly busy. She didn't fuss nervously, make endless calls on a cell phone, visit malls or take Valium. She was comfortable with her vigil and being part of the natural world around her.

Nor was this eagle family consumed with the acquisition of material goods; the nest was not oversized and sprawling with dens, bars, pools, three-car garages. Nor was it full of the eagle equivalent of large-screen TVs, electric corkscrews and other ridiculous gadgets. Nor did I witness any battles to expand their territory or to overeat. Nor was the area teeming with an enormous population of eagles. In spite of being the mightiest birds in the air, they seem at peace with their existence and live in equilibrium within it.

I couldn't help but think how pathetic we humans are in comparison. Our society is not in equilibrium with the natural world. Instead we are looting it, while driven by greed, self-indulgence and self-aggrandizement. We are obsessed with overeating and the acquisition of consumer goods, and our population has far exceeded the carrying capacity of the planet. Whereas we once lived by the laws of nature, now we defy them, violate them - and to what purpose?

As dusk fell, I wished that everyone could come and spend a day at this eagle nest. Perhaps it would help the human race to learn that we need to live in equilibrium with the natural world.

How can we reconnect with nature? How can we learn from the eagles? Let me know what you think. (Or what you feel.)

1 comment: said...

Do you think the children will ask those in my not-so-great generation of elders, “When did you see the good scientific evidence of what everyone knew? Why did you not say anything, even though you did not know precisely what to do? How on Earth could you stand by, as if hysterically blind, willfully deaf and electively mute, and allow "...the greed.....of a thousand little kings..." who arrogantly see and proclaim themselves “masters of the universe” to precipitate the destruction of life as we know it and God’s Creation in the early years of Century XXI?