Today, I want to give you a little glimpse of the watery world of the Everglades. There is a huge diversity of life there – I saw dolphins, manatees, alligators and crocodiles, assorted snakes and lizards, horseshoe crabs…I fell in love with the mangroves, the air plants, the anhinga, the osprey, the time I thought I might, just might, have seen a rare and elusive Florida panther slinking off the road ahead, into the brush…
As a girl in upstate New York, I took for granted that many of my favorite birds were just gone in the winter. But, when I was in the Everglades over a winter, I got to see where the robins, the blackbirds, the herons, the hummingbirds, and so many other species had been hiding during the colder months. More, I got to see other species up close – species I’d read or heard about, but which aren’t native to my home turf…the ibis, the roseate spoonbill, the flamingo and the pelican – and the eagle.
Speaking of eagles, my hands-down most amazing eagle experience happened in Yellowstone National Park, in 1999, when our now-late dog Bunko was just a little pup with a tiny little bladder. During a long drive, we stopped to allow him a rest break, and my Accomplice waited while I took the puppy for a little walk along the trail on the bank of the Firehole River (More on that pup when we get to R, and more about the Firehole River tomorrow, for F).
I heard a splash about 30 feet from me, and, at first, thought a branch had fallen from a tree – only there weren’t any close enough to the bank in that spot. I looked out at the river, trying to figure it out, when a white head with a sharp yellow eye and strong hooked beak. This was followed by a dark missile of a body, and taloned feet which were clutching an unfortunate river trout.
The eagle cried out across the river, and from the trees on the opposite bank came the answering cry of its mate.
I’ve tried to capture the depths of wonder and awe of that moment – but I know I’ll always fail, because this was an experience beyond language.
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Have you ever experienced something that inspired you in that way, so that you know that words or images can never capture what you felt, or what it meant to you? I’d love to hear about it!