March 21, 2002
Food for My Soul
It was a very cold night.
When I got up the drinking water that I had left out side was frozen. I rose before the sun crested the top of the hills. Before long the smell of sizzling bacon and eggs and fried home made bread filled the early morning air.
I managed to heat up some of the water and after my breakfast I drank a cup of hot chocolate to help keep me warm. As I looked out on the lake I could see dimples on the water as fish rose to suck in food from the surface of the water. It didn't take much longer before I had my fishing pole and was out on the water in my canoe.
After watching the fish feeding I wasn't that surprised when my first cast caught a chunky bass. I released it and cast again. Another fish! The first six casts brought in 5 fish, I was impressed.
Once I got out of the cove into the main part of the lake the fishing action slowed down. I didn't really care because I was there to explore. I slowly paddled along the shore of the lake, circling it's peremiter. I was surpriced to see a young buck head out of the water. As cold as it was I could not imagine wading in that water. While I paddled I saw more deer, a couple beaver, a blue huron, a racoon, Canadian geese, a few loons, and plenty of other birds.
At one point I slowly drifted through a group of swallows that were darting across the water, feeding as they flew. Some of them would skim just inches from the water while others darted left and right with amazing grace. There was a lot of fog rolling off the water and it was fascinating to look into the grey hoovering over the water and see these birds come flying towards me.
But the best bird sighting of the day cam when I returned to camp at later morning. Perched on a dead tree about 60 yards from my tent was a bald eagle! I paddled up to shore and slowly walked to my camp. He stayed on the tree, with his head turned back to watch me. I gradually got the food out to make my lunch and went about my business as slowly as I could, so that I did not disturb him. After lunch I sat down, leaned against a tree and watched him, then read a little and then watched him some more.
He was a full grown adult. Like people, bald eagles don't go "bald" until they get older. Juvinale birds have a dark colored head, while the adults have white heads and a white band along there tails. They have a very fierce, penetrating gaze. With their fantastic sense of vision I knew that he could see me a lot better than I could see him.
After well over an hour he finally left his perch. He beat his wings a few times and then locked them fully extended. As I watched he soared in farly tight circles, riding the thermo columns higher and higher. He stayed almost directly above me for quite a while. He never beat is wings, but by gliding on those thermos he rose hundereds of yards into the air.
When he finally flew out of sight I became aware of all the awe that was in me. I felt lucky to have watched him for so long. Such beauty, grace, and independence. It's just not possible to put a value on experiencing something like that, I felt like it actually made my soul richer.