Wide Wingspan

As a kid, I believed bald eagles were in the same otherworldly category as unicorns: other than in a picture, I never imagined seeing these enormous birds.

Today, I walked towards my girls in the car, all of us in a little rush to get somewhere, when a bald eagle soared overhead. I called for the girls. They got out of the car, and we stood looking up and talking, watching the eagle glide over the rooftop and through the pines, before we continued on with what we were doing.

The eagles are always amazing, always stunningly intent on their prey. In times of enormous stress, I’ve imagined myself a coyote, feral-natured, a singular predator.

The world does change. We are neither one thing or another. Bald eagles may not be ubiquitous in my lifetime, but these beauties are edging into the landscape of my daughters’ childhood. I stood there, the golden autumn around us, taking note.

We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.
Joy Harjo, “Eagle Poem”
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By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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