Heaven, Hell and Eagles

Living is a curious endeavor. Living on the banks of the Delaware River is particularly intriguing. Alexandra and Sasha’s home sits on the New Jersey side of the river, on the top of a crest, nestled in a sweet wooded area. They always thought it was about as close to heaven as you could get in this world. That is until one morning when they were both startled awake by the most gawd-awful blood curdling cry they had ever heard. Their heavenly paradise was instantly rendered into a hellacious pocket of terror. What was that sound? Where did it come from? What kind of creature uttered it?

 Alexandra and Sasha looked at each other, eyes very wide open, their hearts pounding, and they crawled out of bed, and ever so quietly opened the door to their deck. They crept out onto the deck, looked out over the river. There was nothing in the water. They looked up into the trees, and they saw it. Their hearts stopped. Literally, holding each other’s hands tighter then they knew they had strength, their hearts stopped, they held their breath as they saw it. A spectacular bald eagle was perched in a tree just beyond their deck. That hellacious sound had summoned them to an even more glorious moment of heave.

 Over the spring the eagle regularly came to perch in their tree, and over the season they noticed that the eagle had built a nest in another tree just a bit further into the woods, but still in their line of vision. It was the biggest nest they had ever seen, a good five feet across maybe more. And one day they that their eagle was actually two when they notice both eagles in the nest together.  In early June they started to notice that at least one of the eagles was always in the nest. By mid July the first eaglet hatched.  And a day or so later they could just make our a second little eaglet in the nest.  As Alexandra and Sasha stealthily watched, it looked to them that their eaglets were growing exponentially. They seemed to be noticeably bigger every day. Within three weeks, they looked about a foot tall!

 Then in early one morning September Alexandra was standing on the deck, dreaming, meditating, and watching over her family of eagles. It looked like both adults were off hunting for breakfast. As she watched, one of the young eaglets stretched her wings. Alexandra held her breath. She and Sasha had done enough reading to know that 40% of eagles do not survive their first flight. She held her breath and watched. The young eagle opened her wings and soared out of the nest. She soared off to the west, circled around back to the nest, overshot it, and it felt to Alexandra like the eaglet was headed directly toward her. She could see those massive talons, the beak was getting huger by the second. And yet, Alexandra stood transfixed, somehow connected to this massive, magnificent bird whose growth she had witness each day. As the bird came ever closer, Alexandra could see its eyes. For one moment they looked each other squarely in the eye. Eye to eye, heart beat to heart beat, time stood still for an instant. They were held in time and space, transfixed.

 Before Alexandra could exhale, the eagle soared up and away and returned to the nest. Alexandra heard Sasha come onto the deck. Sasha looked at her, saw the awe writing on Alexandra’s face, and the tears in her eyes, and she waited. Alexandra turned and looked at Sasha, smiled, hugged the love of her life, and sighed. She knew that moment had touched and changed her life. And she knew she would never have the words to describe it. As she smiled, she felt her heart open and her spirit soar. And there was peace in their place of heaven on the Delaware River.

 Peace, love and justice visited the home of Alexandra and Sasha as they learned to bear witness and listen. Their eagles taught Alexandra and Sasha to be present to life as it presented itself to them. Over the season of the eagles they learned to love life fully with open hearts and wise minds as they watched and read. In the quiet of their home their love grew. In the public spaces of their lives that love quickened into the ways of justice.

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