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BOWEN COLUMN: Eagles are majestic (but don’t tamper with ‘em!)

Homer, Alaska — As I write, the amazin’ blonde and I are sitting in Alaska, nearly to the end of the earth, it seems. We are staying in a hotel called “Land’s End” in Homer, which is at the tip-end of a spit at the far northern end of this great state. The distant snow-dusted mountains that hem in this portion of the ocean may be the most beautiful singular piece of nature I’ve seen — and that’s saying a great deal, as I’ve stood and looked down into that massive expanse we call the Grand Canyon, and I’ve stood way up high up and looked out over the multi-colored changing leaves of the majestic Smokies, too. You’ve read our musings about those sights and scenes with us through the years, and you know each place is breathtaking in its own right.

Equally majestic — if that is possible — are the eagles that we have seen fairly regularly on our journeys. One of the first things we saw as we left Anchorage and headed down toward Seward was an eagle perched high up on a tree, its proud white chest standing out amidst the thick green forest. Along the way we have seen others diving down to where they are right there for you to admire before darting off and up to a higher plane, always leaving you wanting more. The best way to know that what you’re seeing up in the sky is an eagle is that it is so high, flying above the rest, soaring at such a height that they can see all the hustle and bustle going on down below, yet, somehow, unaffected by it all. It exists, it seems, for no other reason than to soar, and to soar high, far above the rest, and, perhaps … perhaps to remind us that we, too — with all our education and skills — should have discovered long ago that we should be much more like that ourselves, that we should soar high, that we should rise far above a good bit of the frivolous activity going on down below.

You understand.

Another thing about that royal bird is that they always seem to fly alone — at least the ones I’ve seen in this Alaskan sky. At a restaurant in Kenai, we saw an eagle briefly low to the ground before it glided off behind a cluster of trees. Then, I looked up, and there were other birds soaring up high. I saw a native Alaskan coming out of the restaurant, so I asked him, “Are those eagles?” He took a closer look, and said, “No, those are seagulls, but we have a lot of eagles here.” Not satisfied, I probed further, “Let me ask you,” I said, “do the eagles fly with those sea gulls up there?” He answered quickly, “Oh, no, they don’t do that. But the sea gulls do like to chase the eagles.”

Ah, I had to smile at that, as I thanked him for sharing the knowledge. That made a lot of sense.That’s why the eagles fly so high. They have to fly high to get away from the aggravation the flock of sea gulls bring. Why, they’d gang up and pluck their feathers of a bird so majestic and so different than they. So, the eagles just climb up higher and go about their business.

Now you know that a detailed lecture here is unnecessary. I’ll leave you to gaze awhile at these scenes in your mind as you go about your day, as you make your way up to that higher plane. I want to share one more glimpse of majesty, though. My favorite Bible passage provides a similar look at the eagle. You are probably far ahead of me here, but it’ll do you and me good to behold Isaiah’s poetic thought as a proper closure to these scenes: “But those who wait on the Lord,” writes the old prophet, “shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

We would end there, except for this P.S.

P.S. I do have to add something funny. As I put the final touches on this column at breakfast at the restaurant overlooking the ocean and the mountains, the amazin’ blonde said, “Look out there!” and, sure enough, an eagle was perched on a platform out in the water. I ran out into the cold and got a few pictures, and when I came back, I said, “Aw, that host of noisy seagulls out there will run him off,” which proved prophetic. The eagle flew off when too many sea gulls started flying around. But a minute later, I looked out over the water and that eagle was hot on the heels of one of those pesky sea gulls, and the sea gull was getting out of Dodge with all that he had. I had to laugh. I guess that, even with a bird as majestic as our eagle, sometimes enough is enough.