Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Eagle

Driving to the Cities on Christmas morning, I saw the unmistakeable silhouette and a patch of white to the west of the highway.

"Eagle!" I called to my wife as he soared at tree-top level to our left.

The white was clear on the head and tail. A majestic bird.

Surprisingly this was the first one I have seen in quite a while. I didn't get as many bike rides on the trails this past summer where I usually get the chance to see one of these birds several times. We also have not had the great view of a small lake like we used to have at an earlier apartment.

I am not superstitious, but I find these sightings of this great bird as positive signs. In some Native cultures, the Bald Eagle is seen as a messenger between the gods and humans. There is also the great quote from Isaiah that

they who wait for the Lord 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.
I saw my first Bald Eagle in the wild almost 25 years ago now. I had just gotten sober the autumn before. I was at church camp and looked up to see a Bald Eagle soaring not far from where we were standing. As a symbol of power and strength, I saw that as a message that I have not forgotten.

Thanks to the incredible resurgence of the Bald Eagle population in these past 25 years I have seen many of these majestic birds. I always take them as a sign. Sometimes just a reminder that the strength is real and available to do what I need to do each day. My Higher Power is real and present.

Sometimes it is a reminder of memories or people or situations. That's what happened on Tuesday. A reminder of the theme for the day in the mindfulness course I am involved in- Compassion. The news was still carrying the stories from Newtown, CT; another story from western New York of a killing of firemen; memories of people I know who have died or who, today, are going through difficulties and trials.

Behind all of this, I was reminded by the Christmas morning Eagle, there is a power greater than ourselves who can restore us to sanity. We, too, can soar, spiritually, with wings like eagles. We, too, can find the ways ahead of us by looking with the sharp eye of faith and trust.

Mindfulness is simply to be open to the moment and the signs that are always around us. The signs may mean something different to me than they do to you, but that is because we are each in different places. When I see one of these signs, on Christmas, the Bald Eagle, I can know that there is more to this than meets the eye.

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