Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sometimes it Snows on the Nest

I gasped when I opened up to the Decorah eagle cam this morning. It snowed! The birds are looking ragged, wet and cold. The little ones still looking liked plucked chickens (albeit very cute plucked chickens) keep scrambling for cover and warmth under their mother. I had been wondering how it would be for them in a rainstorm up there. This was my answer: hard. It looked harsh and hard for them.

I'd seen "Ma" buffeted by heavy wind--late last night, for example. That looked challenging enough to bear. But 31 degrees F and wind and snow has her looking both exhausted (she must've been up all night) and, it seems to me, concerned.

This is Nature, this is natural, right? Sometimes it snows on the nest. I can't possibly have thought these birds wouldn't have to face harsh elements up there 80-odd feet in the air. Still, I feel that I am learning something this morning as I watch them.

Ignorance is bliss, they say. I can't really know what happens in an eagle's nest until I see it, now can I? I am seeing it now. I am watching mother eagle, day in and day out, caring, scouting, preening, protecting, feeding, hunting, sleeping, fluffing, patrolling: vigilant, careful every minute. Even while sleeping she is on alert, ready for anything. For many weeks now she has been engaged, with the help of her mate, in the annual ritual of hatching and raising her young. Each day for a couple of weeks I have watched her perform her duties without complaint. Compound the task by adding snow to the mix: a threat, it occurs to me now. A true threat. Can she feed them? Might they freeze? Mustn't she feed them? This is what I am thinking as I watch these raptors undergo their travail.

Up flies the father to deposit a fresh-caught fish. But my attention is on mom and the eaglets, still concerned for them. Out of the corner of my eye, I think I see the fish flap. Mother eagle confirms that I did. She takes its head in her beak a moment. Then she pokes at it a couple of times. I don't want to be watching what I'm watching.

Can I be watching what I'm watching?

Its gills, its mouth are gasping for water.

Yes, dear. This is what happens in an eagle's nest. Since forever.

Mom stands and begins feeding the fish to the eaglets. I am grateful the bulk of her body is blocking my view. I know what's going on, and I know it's natural, but I still feel for the fish. That fish is being eaten alive! By reflex, I have put up my hand to send it Reiki. I know exactly what the energy will provide for its passing over, and I want to provide it. All the while, I am aware that Nature does Its thing every day--just this sort of thing--and has done so for eons without my help. I realize what I'm not watching is natural. Natural, yes, but cruel--no? Nature is cruel. Yes, Nature is cruel. I have seen other evidence that it is so.

It is strange to discover as this all unfolds before me that I think I should be exempt from undergoing. I must think so, because I seem to think the eagles should be exempt. But sometimes it snows on the nest.

I stand reminded, and grateful for it. Nothing in Nature is exempt from undergoing. And sometimes it snows on the nest.

grateful thanks to the Raptor Resource Project


Anonymous Yok said...

Hi Kathryn,

Thanks for letting me know about this blog.I had the pleasure of reading your previous posts.

At times, I felt as if I was having tea with a close friend, watching her take small steps, marveling as she blossoms into her beauty.

Thanks for inviting me to travel along with you on Love's Freeway !


10:12 AM  
Blogger Kathryn Deputat said...

Welcome and thank you, Yok. Glad to have your company along the (Free)way.

11:09 AM  

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