On things I probably didn’t see

A couple of days ago, I looked out the window in my kitchen at exactly the right time to see a bald eagle briefly perch in a tree in my back yard and then fly away again. It was there exactly long enough for me to register the brown body, the white head, and the yellow beak, and long enough to process the fact that if it was some sort of crow with a skin condition it was also the largest corvid I had ever seen by a multiple of two or three, but not long enough for me to get my phone out of my pocket and get even a blurry picture. I’ll be honest; I didn’t believe my eyes.

A few minutes of research later, I discovered that not only are there known bald eagle nests in St. Joseph County, one of the more recently discovered ones is within a few miles of my house. So … yeah. It’s actually more plausible, given where I live, that I saw an actual bald eagle in my back yard than that it was some sort of mutant crow or cosplaying hawk. I mean, it was fast, but it wasn’t that fast. They’re kind of distinctive-looking animals.

This is the place where the post takes a little bit of a turn, so brace yourself, but: as of right now we’re three days away from the two-year anniversary of my mom’s death, and … well. I’ve actually texted her number once since she died, complete with an apology if someone else had the number. It either hasn’t been reassigned or they were nice enough to not respond to me.

It has been a long time since I wanted to talk to my mom as much as I did during that moment. Mom loved birds; she’d have been over here in a flash, and she’d have camped out on my back porch, winter weather be damned, until she saw the damn eagle herself. If I were a more spiritual person, I’d construct some sort of metaphor here abut her watching over us through the bird. I don’t have it in me to allow myself that sort of comfort, unfortunately.

But damn, I wish I had a way to tell her about it.

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Luther M. Siler

The author of SKYLIGHTS, THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES and several other books.

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