Taking Time to Stop and Smell The…

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…

7 replies on “Taking Time to Stop and Smell The…”

In wildness is the salvation of the world — Thoreau. In stopping beside the road to look at the bald eagle, a piece of the world just might be saved. I have never seen a bald eagle in the wild; golden eagles, yes. We have them that soar overhead from Possum Kingdom Lake, about thirty miles away. I have to say, Rebecca, knowing that you are studying ecology and educational approaches to instructing it, I am envious in a good sense. Looking back on my academic career, I have become satisfied — in part — by being an historian and teaching anthropology. I would study ecology and anthropology if I could repeat. Ecology is a field that needs to be a core requirement in secondary and higher education. It is a sanctum that, in my judgement, not even religion can touch, for it shows the web of life as it is: connected and evolutionary with empirical evidence. Your wrote a very good post that showed wildness and your feelings.

I’m surprised to hear you’ve never seen a bald eagle, but then, I suppose there isn’t much habitat for them in your part of the country. My first good look at a golden eagle came on my trip through Colorado this summer.

What’s funny is that truly hardcore birders rarely bother with bald eagles, now that they’ve become so common in some areas. A real, serious birder would be squinting through his binoculars at a sparrow while a bald eagle soared around his head in circles.

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