This morning I got up early to go on a shopping expedition to Rhinelander, a city about an hour away. (Your concepts of what is a reasonable to distance to drive to go shopping and of what exactly constitutes a “city” change quickly when you live in such an isolated area. Driving an hour each way to pick up some stuff for your apartment begins to seem completely normal, and a town of less than eight thousand people feels like a busy metropolis.) As I drove down the country highway at what seemed to me to be a perfectly reasonable speed, one person after another zipped around me, doing sixty-five, seventy, seventy-five miles an hour. What was the rush? Were they late to church? I found it rather annoying.
Then I came around a bend to see a car pulled over onto the shoulder of the road next to an overgrown field. Some sixth sense tingled and I immediately became convinced they’d stopped to look at wildlife. Sure enough, when I slowed down I spotted a bald eagle in full adult plumage standing on the ground and eating something not far at all from the road’s edge.
Did I stop? No. I suppose in the end I too fell prey to the jaded, “I’ve-seen-dozens-of-bald-eagles-before-and-I-don’t-even-have-my-camera-and-I-have-errands-to-run” way of thinking. But it made me immensely happy to know that, in the rush of people hurrying to get through the wilderness separating one of these far-flung North Woods towns from another, someone felt that a bald eagle was reason to come to a complete standstill.
Pictures from Lake Superior and the Porcupine mountains coming this week…