Sometimes life surprises you with a gift, dropped right in your lap when you least expect it.
Yesterday was one of those days.
It has been very, very hot here in the Northeastern US for the past week, so we’ve been trying to stay near water as much as possible. Anything to keep cool! We’re lucky enough to live in a place with many small lakes and ponds, and we’re extra lucky to have good friends who like to kayak with us. So yesterday, after doing our errands and household chores in the raging heat and humidity, we wrestled our boats onto our car roofs and headed off for a paddle.
Lovely little Comet pond was filled with sailboats, kayaks, canoes and even some waterskiiers. The sky was hazy, the pine trees growing along the shore seemed to droop in the heat. We paddled away from the boat launch, hugging the shoreline to avoid the speeding motor boats and the waves they created. After a while we pulled out our usual kayaker picnic of wine, fruit, cheese and crackers and ice cold beer. We floated together, each with a hand on another’s kayak, to keep us together in a happy little cluster, loving the sunshine and the gentle breezes. We were chatting, and laughing and just enjoying each other’s company, when suddenly our friend Doug called out, “Look!”
He pointed up, into the dazzling blue of the summer sky. At first I only saw a few wispy clouds, and the tops of the hemlock trees that surrounded us. But then my eye was caught by a dark, sweeping motion, gracefully arching above me.
We all knew at once what we were seeing: an eagle. An American eagle. Right there. Soaring, rising, looping in the air above us. A sight that none of us had expected, but one that left us breathless.
Paul had never seen an eagle before this one. For me, it was only the second time in 57 years of life. But there he was, so big and beautiful and strong; so absolutely in his rightful place.
We watched him for about ten full minutes, craning our necks and paddling furiously to turn our boats, desperate to keep him in sight.
An American eagle. Right above our heads.
It was a gift.
We live in a very small town, in a largely ignored part of our affluent state. We often feel slightly ashamed of this poor, struggling community and its lack of amenities. We sometimes wish that we could live in a more respectable part of the state.
Yesterday changed my mind.