As I wrote earlier this week, M. and I celebrated Candlemas by going to Eagle Days down at the state park by Pueblo Reservoir. (Chamber of Commerce types want you to say “Lake Pueblo.”)
So the director of the local raptor-rehabilitation center and her volunteers always show up with plenty of “education birds,” those being birds whose injuries or some cases habituation to humans keeps them from being released into the wild.
M. and I are volunteers too, in that our work as “wildlife transporters” for Colorado Parks & Wildlife often means bringing in hawks, owls, and vultures to the center. Once in a while, we get to release one as our reward. (The survival rate for injured raptors, unfortunately, is not too high.)
We caught part of the U.S. Air Force Academy falconers’ demonstration, an Indian pow-wow dance group’s eagle dance, looked at the birds. We had seen one golden eagle on the drive to the lake, and Diana said a certain spot farther down the Arkansas River might have some bald eagles, but I had another plan that had worked before, which involved driving upstream, into the state wildlife area, and then hiking with spotting scope and tripod to an overlook.
There, at the edge of the ice (the lake being half-frozen), was a black dot, which at 20x quickly resolved into a bald eagle, just hanging out.
It was not my spirit bird, nor did it bring me a message. It was just an eagle doing eagle stuff, another inhabitant of the upper Arkansas River.
It’s funny how we have to have a special day, with costumes, handouts, museum exhibits, captive birds, pizza, and cookies just to celebrate letting the wild be wild (and the wheel of the year), but that is how we roll. And if it build connections, I am all for it.
I care less and less for fancy metaphysics, dazzling Neoplatonic pyramids, recycled Theosophy, and all of that. I like my Paganism close to the ground. I know that that puts me at odds with all the One God/One Prophet/One Book people out there as well, but I gave up on monotheism many decades ago because it never told me how to live alongside the eagle.