December: cold, a scattering of snow, the ice settling into the ground.

In Hardwick, on impulse, I stop into a store and buy a string of white lights with wooden reindeer for my daughters. It’s Sunday morning, and hardly anyone is out.

Walking home with those lights tucked into my backpack with a brown paper bag of rice and a square of cheese, a bottle of sesame oil, I cut through the cemetery. Before long, the cemetery will be snowed in for months.

I’m walking up the path from the piney woods, near last summer’s potato patch, when a bald eagle glides down from a white pine. I stand quietly — yes, white tail feathers, head, its curved beak earthward. Without flapping a wing, the eagle catches an upwind and drifts over my blueberry bushes and garden, then disappears around our white clapboard house.

I grew up in New Hampshire and never saw a loon as a child. We never saw wild turkeys, didn’t dream of bald eagles swooping over a trampoline in a backyard, never heard coyotes except when we were camping in the Rocky Mountains.

When I step into our kitchen where my daughters are baking cookies, they greet my news of the eagle with cool, and keep on with what they’re doing.

While the pandemic reigns, the wilderness hasn’t gone away. Hungry eagle, what did you find for dinner?

On our kitchen wall…

About Brett Ann Stanciu

A writer and sugarmaker, Brett Ann lives with her two daughters in stony soil Vermont. Her novel HIDDEN VIEW was published by Green Writers Press in the fall of 2015. Let my writing speak for itself.
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7 Responses to Wild

  1. Mary McGrath says:

    There have been eagle sightings in Greensboro this summer too!

  2. Nancy Osborne says:

    As always, love your imagery. “ Walking home with those lights tucked into my backpack with a brown paper bag of rice and a square of cheese, a bottle of sesame oil, I cut through the cemetery.”
    So evocative, not sure why, but it is. I have no Vermont eagle stories (baby eagles at Reversing Falls in Pembroke Maine – yes) BUT I also have the B & P poster Sing!

  3. This weekend when I went out in the morning to walk my dog, there was a beauty – hawk? Falcon? sitting in a low branch about 10 feet away from me. We watched each other interestedly. (my dog is kind of little…!) An hour later – still morning, I called my sister who lives in Manhattan and as we were talking she went to the window and gasped — there was a hawk sitting on the windowsill of an apartment directly across from hers. What a weird coincidence, right?
    I’ve never seen an American Eagle – that would really thrill me!

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