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.


Charles Gramlich said...

Tres cool.

Aniket said...

The chair's always warm in deed. I've been itching to get back to old ways. I was happier back then. I think I'd revive MoD now. And go back to reading blogs over FB posts.

Hoping my chair is warm too. Hell my bums have been sitting cold for so long, anything would feel warm to them. :)

Its good to see you here, friend. We'll keep and eye on this little window hoping to see you pop up sooner.

Karen told me Joaquin's back too. Its a good day. I'll visit everyone soon. Planning to take a weeks break and go home. Will do all the reading then.

Till then - Stay tuned. I'll be back. Saaame bat-time. Saaame Bat-channel.

Stephen Parrish said...

Welcome home, old friend.

Anne Gallagher said...

First, I have that same picture up on my wall in the dining room.

Second, this post was beautiful.

Third, I had no idea there were eagle chicks on the web, so thanks for telling me. I'll have to stream it up for my daughter.

Sarah Hina said...

Charles, thanks!

Aniket, I can't wait to see you return. My retreat was necessary but made me a piss-poor friend at times, and I definitely have some catching up to do.

Enjoy your trip home. I'll be eagerly waiting for that fire in MoD's hearth to light soon. :)

Steve, thanks. It wouldn't be the same without you.

Anne, I love Wyeth. More and more so as I grow older.

Thank you so much for dropping by and for the kind words. As for the eaglets--they just enjoyed a fish breakfast! :)

Susan Deborah said...

I read about this a few months ago in one of my daily devotion books. Until then, I had never heard of something like observing birds. I really liked the way this post flowed. Wonderful how you started off with the practice of watching, moving on to life.

Nice to see a post from you after a long time, Sarah. Have you permanently lost your curls? I remember the first time when I came over to your place. I loved your curly mane.

Take care.

Joy always,

Jennifer said...

They are so cute! My kids are going to love this. And in a spirit of generosity that might not be reflected in the earlier email to you, I will share it with my mother-in-law because she adores birds. :)

And of course it's more than the birds that you've shared. It's your take on the birds, the beautiful ways in which you see the world and seek to be in the world (even when you are sort of sitting out) and your ability to read meaning into the things that should be meaningful and separate out the other, and your ability to put that into words is what touches us all so deeply.

(Although your dead chick thing did sort of remind me of the gecko/anole situation a few years ago--if Aniket checks back here, he will UNDERSTAND!)

This was a lovely treat today, Sarah.

(I deleted my other profile and am not yet bold enough to use the new, incognito one. :) )

Sarah Hina said...

Susan, I did cut my hair to donate it awhile back. But that current pic is a bit misleading! I snapped it right after I got the haircut and she'd straightened it. Now, of course, it's a mess. :)

Thank you for the sweet words here. It's very good to be back in the flow of things.

Jennifer, I remember the gecko/anole story! That one should be filed under "Great Moments in Blogging History." :)

I must say I'm rather addicted to distracting myself with those little eaglets. I'm starting to get attached to them, which isn't terribly wise. My daughter and I are trying to think of the perfect names, which will make it a little difficult once they fly away. I guess this is why wildlife biologists refrain, right?

Thank you for all you've said here (and in your email). I don't know how often I'll blog, but it felt wrong, somehow, not to check in. I started to miss everyone too daggone much.

Aniket said...

@Jen: Oh I did check back and I do remember. :)

Isn't it nice! Everyone's peeping out from their hideouts. Feels like a re-union of sorts. I'm so happy! Makes me realize how much I missed you folks. *sniff sniff*

Sarah Hina said...

Aniket, me too.

Anonymous said...

We keep checking back and the kids and I just saw the babies feeding. It was SO cool.

I knew you'd remember, Aniket. You were hoping for the worst in that situation, as I recall! :)

Jen said...

P.S. Aniket, if you read this, I can't comment on your blog anymore without signing in????

Sarah Hina said...

Jennifer, screw the eaglets! I'm too busy reading this brilliant novel to pay any attention to them. (Up to Chapter 29. Couldn't put it down tonight!!)

Jennifer said...

Sarah, you are the best. I just spent a miserable hour with a contractor--a conversation that involved hunting birds and how easy it was to pick up girls at my alma mater--and now you have me smiling. :)

Also, where is Aniket?? I have an undoubtedly brilliant and lovely comment for him but I CAN'T LEAVE IT.

Aniket said...

@Jen: Have changed the settings on my blog so you can comment.

Now I wait for that undoubtedly brilliant comment of yours. :D

Sarah Hina said...

Jennifer, now all I can think of about is that contractor hunting college women the same way he hunts birds. Ew.

(And I formally apologized to the eaglets for the earlier expletive. The poor Mama is currently getting drenched while protecting them from the rain.)

joaquin carvel said...

there is something similar out here, but it's barn owls. there was a little uproar a while back when a couple of the chicks were struggling to survive; they didn't, and some were upset that nothing was done.

but that's how it works, right? nature is only really nature when it's allowed to run its course. the "devotion, sacrifices and cruelty" - it's a total package. and it turns out to be endlessly fascinating.

(glad to see you back. the rock i was under was starting to get itchy.)

Karen said...

It is so nice to see you back, and I love the metaphor. You do always see connections - have a true poet's eye that I envy.

It feels like old home week here. Jen was my very first blog friend, and I still think about her and hope she's well. It's good to see us all. Surviving.

Margaret said...

I left a comment here 2 days ago but it seems to have disappeared somewhere in cyberspace!! :(

Just want to tell you how happy I am to see you back to blogging, Sarah and with such a lovely post. We can learn more from watching nature than in any books.

Welcome Back, Sarah!! :)

Jennifer said...

Okay, Sarah, we just clicked on the bird cam (I'm too lazy to take the link--we get there through your blog or your blog on the reader) and it looks like the mother is...plucking something?? And there's white stuff all over??? What is going on????? :)

Karen, hi! How are you??? I miss everyone, too!

Jennifer said...

Yep. It's a bird carcass. My eight year old (home for the snow delay) just gave me a little (slightly sarcastic) tutorial on the meaning of "birds of prey."

Sarah Hina said...

Joaquin, probably the hardest thing to do as a wildlife biologist is to sit on your hands and just let it be. Luckily, these little guys seem to be thriving so far.

Very happy you're out from the rock. We could all use more sunshine on our faces. :)

Karen, thank you for those warm thoughts. I didn't remember that you and Jennifer were blog buddies, too, so it really is a reunion!

Margaret, I agree! I think it's why I go so crazy in winter. The mind turns inward, instead of looking out.

Thanks for the lovely wishes back. It's great to see you again!!

Jennifer, ha! Doncha just love it when the student becomes the master? ;)

Yeah, those white feathers were all over the place. Poor little guy.

Catvibe said...

How in the heck did I miss this party?

I love the eagles and have been watching since you posted them on Twitter. They are so sweet to watch, and somehow even the ripping off of meet, so primal and terrifying in some ways, is just done in the lovingest of ways. It really puts it all in perspective doesn't it?

I have a bluebird couple in the house I put up for them in my yard, and I love watching their activities. I hope they will have chicks very soon, so far no.

Good to see you blogging again Sarah!

Sarah Hina said...

Cat, thanks for swinging by! I'd love to see some bluebird chicks hatching. I do believe they're my favorite feathered friends.

Am glad you've gotten to much out of the eaglets, too! :)