Sunday, October 21, 2007
I had never seen an eagle before but recognised him immediately, perched on the highest limb of a dead tree in the field before me. He was motionless, and the only striking thing was his size. As I walked up to the fence he dipped his head slightly, leaning forward into the air and gliding off the branch. He wheeled gently just above the ground and after two beats of his wings was as high as the tree again and now climbing languidly in a wide arc. Suddenly he appeared to hang still in the sky, and then he folded his wings back and plummeted, a dark blur arrowing towards the ground. There was a piercing squeal and then the eagle was in the air again with a small creature in its talons. He flew over to the edge of the wood and I continued my walk up the hill, but the ground in front was as good as invisible to me. My mind's eye was dazzled by him: an agile and lethal creature, and yet the most graceful and inspiring I had ever seen.