Sunday, March 27, 2011

Little Windows

("Wind from the Sea" by Andrew Wyeth)

My kids and I have been watching The College of William & Mary’s Bald Eagle Cam pretty enthusiastically throughout the day.  I keep the tab open on my browser and bounce over whenever I want to see what Mom and the three eaglets are up to in their nest.  Our daughter watched the streaming video for an hour straight this afternoon.  She was hoping to witness the mother’s moment of flight.  She asked me where those wings would take her, and I told her we wouldn’t be able to see.  But we knew the eaglets had to stick by our sides, even if they had not a lick of awareness that we had sides to stick to.  

Not to go too far with all this, but there is something comforting in this notion.  How we feel protective and almost prideful of the little guys, and how they, in turn, give us their company.  I was a biology major in college.  I worked at a zoo, and I fed dead chicks to bald eagles at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History's wildlife sanctuary.  I thought those days were behind me.  Yet this camera offers me a perspective on reality I would never be able to enjoy if someone hadn’t taken the trouble to stick it up there.  It’s the wild world, in my lap.  And the intimacy of it is quietly breathtaking.  

All these little windows become a part of the houses inside our heads.  We peer out, we turn back in, because there's stuff to do or it's just too dark to look any longer.  But we remember the folds of the landscapes, and we color in the gaps and shadows.  And in doing so, we elevate sight into vision.        

Writing and blogging are like this, too.  

We are richer for the looking.  How else could my daughter have been rewarded for her patience than in seeing another bald eagle swoop into frame after 45 minutes?  Turns out, Papa is just as dedicated a parent as Mama.  And how else could one better grasp the scope of life on this planet of ours--with all its devotion, sacrifices and cruelty--than by watching him tear the flesh off a waterfowl for his wide-mouthed progeny?

It's nighttime, and the camera's gone dark for now.  But I'll be happy to pull up a chair tomorrow.  Turns out, this seat's always warm.