The Work of Spouses

Pearl and I were on the way back from our morning walk when we saw the eagle in the tree right in our yard.  She (I'm guessing, since females are larger than males) didn't move as we walked toward the house, or when I took her picture. She was not threatened by Pearl's bark. JJ jogged over from next door, and we both marveled at an eagle, so close to the house, us, and the dog. Then, from the opposite direction, up near the garden, about four eagles swooped through the cherry trees right at us.  More descended from the top of another spruce, their dark wings shading the sun as we leaped up onto the porch. (Eagles have wing spans of about eight feet.) You can imagine the whooping and running.  I was just about to tell Chip, through the kitchen window, to come out and see the show, when there was more crashing in the woods by the back door, and a full grown, white-headed eagle slalomed through the thick branches about three feet off the ground, toward the driveway right into the open garage door, with my dog in pursuit. Chip ran out with a wet dish towel in his hands. "Get the eagle out of the garage before he kills Pearl," I hollered.

 "You do it," he said, kind of joking, as we both trotted toward the scene, calling the dog, unsure if fast or slow was better.

"I can't go in there. This is a man's job, that's why I'm married to you."

"Well, then you can start doing the dishes, since someone has to the women's work around here."  

I have no idea what happened in that dim garage --this all took place so fast -- and also because we were about thirty feet away when Pearl skittered out, followed by the flapping eagle. Both looked a little puzzled, but were uninjured. The big female was still in the tree by the beach when her mate took off and joined her. The others had all perched on high branches surrounding the house.  Chip said he'd check in the woods to see if there was something dead attracting the eagles, something we could get rid of  to end the siege. I told him to be careful. This was getting a little scary. He emerged, smiling, with a partially eaten whole salmon. He carried the fish which had caused all the commotion down to the beach and tossed it as far as he could. One eagle soared off with it, a few chased it, but the rest hopped on the sand or coasted to tree tops farther down the beach, away from our house and the others nearby. The party was over.

I have read that eagles mate for life, and I like to think that is true. I wonder if the eagle and her spouse had gotten in a little tiff over that salmon which they later regreted. Perhaps he caught it, and then the bad mannered juveniles (they have speckled feathers and brown heads so are easy to identify) stole it from him and she told him to go get it, because that's what husbands do. Perhaps right now they are sitting on a branch, both saying they are sorry, and promising each other to be more careful next time they fly so near a human house, or better yet, she tells him, he should stay away all together. "It's just a fish," she may be saying."There's lots more." Then again, probably not. What makes encounters with wild things thrilling is that they don't think like us and we can't speak their language. I am more aware than ever that we are living with the other creatures on this earth, as someone once wrote, in layers of parellell worlds. Every now and then the lines cross, and hopefully, like this time, there is no harm done.  


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