Photograph by Melanie Sherman
A few years ago I bought a kayak. It was the kind of sunny, warm March day when you feel spring nipping at winter’s heels. I loaded my kayak onto my car and sped down to
Photo by KetaDesign
He flew to the island and with graceful flapping, settled on a bare tree branch. I paddled closer toward the island and then I saw another eagle, perched in the same tree. My gaze swung to the next tree. Two or three eagles clung to the naked branches. I paddled closer until the kayak bobbed twenty feet from shore and my breathing came quick and shallow. Every tree supported at least one eagle, but some as many as five. There must have been sixty or seventy.
Photograph by Andrew (Tawker)
And there, flying helter-skelter between the empty branches in a grove of trees, three juvenile eagles chased each other in a hectic game of tag. Over the gentle lapping of water I could hear the sound of their wings hitting the bark as they weaved through the maze of limbs at full speed, while the adults watched from their perches.
Photo by KetaDesign
When I got home, I sent out emails to kayaking friends. The next weekend, a dozen of us motored into the parking lot and rigged our kayaks, buckling into our life jackets, adjusting our sunglasses, slathering on sunscreen. We set off toward the middle amid the joyous silence of anticipation. But something was different. There were no birds flying, none preening in the branches, no teenagers cavorting. The trees loomed; empty and barren.
I stopped and gazed up, disappointment welling inside. When my eyes lowered to the water, nearly a dozen kayakers surrounded me and stared, one of them plucking little sprays of water from the surface with his blade. “An island filled with eagles, huh?” one of them scoffed.
My mouth dropped open, but it took several tries before the words came out. “They were here last week. Honest they were.” I pointed to the stillness of the island. They stared a while longer before, one by one, they turned and paddled back to shore.
Photograph by Tequesquitengo
Yes, I was sad I didn’t get to see the birds again, but my biggest disappointment was not being able to share it with others, because the wonders of the world are best when shared.