Eagle and Loon

I’m at the edge of a pristine lake crouched under an enormous white pine at the place where the owners want to build a boathouse. On the way down, I waved to the carpentry crew working on the house; they’re the hired help as I, a town employee, am a version of hired help, too.

I’m writing a few notes when I hear a rush of wings. A bald eagle swoops out of the white pine so near to me I see its shockingly white tail feathers. The creature is so large its wings are almost oversized, flapping mightily as it turns and heads over the lake, apparently in no particular rush but moving rapidly as its wings bend through the air.

At the same time, as if on cue, a loon calls on the glassy lake. For that moment — in a day I’ve jammed with too much — I’m in no rush to go anywhere. Still crouching, I watch that eagle head across the lake, admiring its enormous wings, while I listen to the loon’s echoing calls.

My daughters and I have been swimming on this lake when loons didn’t nest here. All spring and summer we’ve seen eagles. The wild world — with its greater, wiser plan.

The loon dives and disappears. I wander to the lakeshore and dip my fingers into the cold, clear water. Gray sky, fallen leaves in the water, stones, my boots — and so much more.

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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