Of Salmon and Eagles….

IMG_2528We have several dozen eagles near my home. My children and I often play spotting games as we drive through the fields – often seeing them perched on highway signs overlooking farming fields providing a vantage point for hunting field mice, cats, and other small animals. The most we have ever spotted in one drive was one hundred and twenty. It really is incredible.

When I was a child I remember my father telling me about an experience he had watching an eagle fishing on Ootsa Lake. The eagle was flying above the water, circling and spotted a fish. It swooped down, talons extended. The talons locked into the back of the large salmon. The bird then attempted to fly off with the fish, but it had chosen too large of a meal that day. My father watched from his boat the eagle as it continued to attempt taking off with the fish. The fish had every intention of getting away and continued to fight the eagle by trying to swim deeper and deeper into the lake. My father watched for over twenty minutes. I asked my father why the eagle just didn’t let go. He told me that their talons get locked in and cannot be released until pressure is put on them. The eagle had no way of simply abandoning its catch. So as the massive bird became more tired from attempting to take off, the fish began to get deeper into the water. First the legs went into the water, then the torso. The eagles wings became more wet and eventually – after such a long struggle – the bird simply disappeared into the depths as the fish was able to drag it deeper and deeper into the watery grave.

I think we have all felt like that fish. We work as best we can, and suddenly are blindsided by someone wanting to remove us from our routine, our work, and our dreams. If we are determined and strong enough in our convictions we can carry on moving forward – and the more the attacker hangs on, the more they are dragged down into the depths. I would like to imagine a world where we all get along. However, human beings, I have learned, are full of surprises. I don’t like conflict in my life – largely because I was abused as a child. However, when it comes to situations in my life now where I have to make decisions of giving up or carrying on – I hope that I will have the stamina of the salmon. Eagles, for all their graces, are still fallible.

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