The first bald eagle I saw this morning was orbiting dangerously close to traffic on the two-lane highway upon which I drove home after my night shift.
I’m telling you, the bald eagle has no fear. A glorious bird.
Then, I first saw what turned out to be the second bald eagle of the day from a much greater distance on that same drive. Here I confess though, with shame, that I didn’t immediately recognize the feathered sentry. But I have to believe that mistaking him for a large bird’s nest is fairly flattering in its own way. Like you, for most of my life the description “he’s as big as a house” has been reserved for use on only the strongest of us humans.
Add to this fact that in my own front yard, the fall season and the resultant leafless trees had revealed a rather large bird nest near the top of one of the trees and you’ll understand why at first—only for a second really—I didn’t recognize the winged friend for what it was. I figured, “Oh, a nest just like at home.”
But I was wrong. It wasn’t some random, unused, and derelict bird’s nest. It was a living, breathing, and rather chesty member of the stately, all-seeing protector of America.
Now as I approached I did my best to make eye-contact by leaning forward at just the right moment to briefly look up—while not losing control of the car.
I can’t report with integrity that we made eye-contact, but I can report that I saw the end of the slightest nod signifying “carry-on citizen” as he moved his gaze from analyzing my approach in particular back to the Minnesotan horizon in general. And I can definitely report that my heart warmed.
Your inescapable delight in reading the above over any other journalistic drivel is what ties this post to Trump. I like that he wants to be successful and wear the American countryside while doing it. All I’m suggesting here is he should model his campaign after this post and the rhetorical archetype itself, if he wants to seal the deal this election. It’s a gimmick, surely. But what isn’t in contemporary politics?
Finally, and with more than a merely temporal connection, I want to include that on this self-same commute, I was listening to a podcast in which I heard avant-garde writer Yuval Noah Herari exclaim, “What will the future history student’s answer be to the question, ‘What was America’s second civil war about?’ I mean the difference between the two ‘sides’ is nearly non-existent.”
I shook my head and thought, “Obviously this heady, wannabe-De-Tocqueville Mr. Herari hasn’t seen a bald eagle. The two sides are as clearly defined as sky and earth. Any true American knows this.”
But I can admit to my readers now that it seems that this vista only becomes apparent when one of these birds is in view.