Just a mile from our home is a forest that in the autumn looks like a patchwork quilt. It is bittersweet when the leaves fall, because we know that the trees will stand bare and bleak on the rise of the hill until Spring. The positive side of this seasonal change is that the nest of the pair of Bald Eagles at the edge of the woods becomes quite visible without it’s leafy green camouflage.
Now, with the leaves curled and brown and littering the forest floor, an interesting thing has become apparent. The eagles are building a new nest just a few feet away from the old one. The farmer on whose land the eagles nest believes they are taking this action because the tree in which the old nests sits is dying. How could the eagles know that?
I never thought much about watching eagles fly before we moved to this rural northern location, over 10 years ago. I never knew how the sight of an eagle moving across the blue sky over the lake would cause me to drop whatever task was at hand. Though I respected them as a national symbol and as a protected species, I wasn’t familiar with the breath-held-in-wonder, eyes-riveted-to-the-path-of-flight sensation that would stop me in my tracks. Now, amazingly, I’ve seen eagles hunt in the fields across from our house. I’ve looked on as a young eagle flew in it’s parent’s updraft. I have watched an eagle alight from it’s nest, and lift with elegant strength into the air.
This afternoon the sight of those nests, high on the trunk of two old hardwood trees, reminded me of all of the blessings of living just a little off the beaten track. In all seasons, nature has wisdom to pass on to us... if we’re listening, and if we’re looking closely enough. I forget that sometimes and move along a little too quickly. Glimpses of simple things, like eagles nests and brittle leaves fallen to the forest floor, remind me to slow down and listen to the lessons of nature.
“Come forth into the light of things. Let nature be your teacher.” William Wordsworth