The Scream of the Eagle, the Call of the Road

I’m thinking about eagles today, for no good reason other than my world is lousy with ‘em. Seriously: I’m mostly just glad I have a dog that’s too large to be eagle snack. I’ve heard stories. Some of them aren’t pretty.

I was sitting at my desk first thing this morning. I happened to glance out the window just as an eagle motored pretty much across my line of sight. Though the sight of an eagle scooting through our personal airspace isn’t exactly uncommon, it still took my breath away. It was fairly early and the mist hadn’t burned off the day. In the distance -- beyond the mist -- a blue sky threatened to break through. But just then it was only a glimmer of blue; a hint. Everything else was bathed in this ghostly light: a heavy mist, then. Maybe even a fog.

The eagle’s vision seemed unbothered by mist or fog or whatever else mere humans might want to call it. He looked like he knew where he was going: like he was on a mission and wouldn’t be so easily deterred.

To be honest, at first I thought it was a crow. I’m not good at telling from a distance, not like David who can tell a crow and an eagle and a turkey vulture by the shape of their wings and the angles at which they choose to fly. Not me though. To me -- so close to my office window and slightly obscured as he was by the mist -- I figured it had to be a crow. But then I caught the almost ghostly glow of his white head, and the majestic cut of his flight. He was soaring.

Eagles do that: soar. Cliché though it might be. They soar, but they do not scream. At least, though I’ve heard a lot of eagle articulations, I’ve never heard one scream. You do hear them, though. They sound... well... they sound ridiculous. They sound like mondo songbirds. They sort of warble. They kinda peep. It’s a loud sound, they’re large birds, after all. But it’s still silly. Maybe it’s just the hype. All those years of hearing “screaming eagles” and such. Or maybe it’s like an SUV with a teeny, tinny little horn. Incongruous, somehow. What’s wrong with this picture? These big huge birds, with wings that span farther than I am tall; who can and do carry away family cats and pocket pups. And then you’re out for a walk and you hear, “Cheep, cheep. Cheep!” Really loud, but still:

I’m thinking about eagles today, but off to Left Coast Crime tomorrow, where I’ll be thinking about nothing but mystery fiction and, I guess, coffee. (Since I’ll be in the city of brotherly caffeine.) If you are also attending LCC, I’m on a panel on Thursday afternoon. It’s being moderated by Gwen Shuster-Haynes. My fellow panellists are Don Bruns, Jane Cleland and Toni McGee Causey. Our topic is going out of your comfort zone while reading which, truth be told, is ambiguous enough that I imagine we’ll have some fun with it.

If you see me at any of the LCC events, please say hello. I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of people who have either just been names to me, or shadows on my blog logs. And I don’t imagine I’ll see any eagles while I’m away.


Popular Posts