Monday, April 17, 2017

Faster than the speed of life

I saw a bird along the Mississippi River today. I did not think it was a bird. I thought it was a clump of leaves, torn from a tree in a gusting breeze and plummeting down to the river. But while I was watching these leaves fall it occurred to me that we do not have any 300 foot tall trees around here to fall from. These leaves were far higher than any tree, or anything at all, and were slicing down like they were racing to the river. These leaves were not leaves. They were a bald eagle, with its wings tucked into two arrows, cutting the wind to slam towards the Mississippi.

I have seen surely a thousand bald eagles out here by my river over the decades, but I have never before seen one in a hurry. What I saw as falling I realized was hurtling. As a live thing it was terribly fast, sheering its profile, pulling gravity, heading into the brown/black water.

But it didn't go into the river. It gently pulled out of the dive like doing so was an afterthought, and it drifted lazily into the air upstream. I will never know exactly what that bird was up to, but at least I understood: 

Traveling as fast as one can does not mean one is in a hurry.

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