Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Encapsulating the Horizon

For the eagle,
it is easy enough
to rise up from this
mountain lake, to
soar above the
aspen and the
pines, encapsulating
the horizon,
from the blue
hills far off to
the peach colored
buttes closer in,
from the cloying
brush at the
water’s edge to the
bare rock of the
cliffside.

For the eagle,
the strong sun
at 8,000 feet is
only a warming
of the flight feathers,
the booming wind
off the ridge a
staircase to climb,
an easy hand to
keep him aloft
and far above
the business of
the tractor and
the pickup down
in the valley.

For the eagle,
this arid land
of jackrabbit and
mule deer, this
land long bereft
of the sea that
made it, is a
home just as
good as another,
his aerie in the
cliffwall a vault
of silence, inviolate,
impervious as yet
to our incursion,
and if he hears
the sound of a rifle
thudding its monotonous
tone from the arroyo,
so be it, and if he
sees us, making our
clumsy way on
horseback across the
slickrock, so be it,
and if he sees the
contrails of an airliner
crossing the cerulean
expanse of his sky,
so be it.

For the eagle, these
recent additions,
these temporary
alterations we have
made, our strange
search for comfort and
commerce—these
foolish things can
only intrude so much,
and he has flown above
the quiet towns and
their tall motel signs,
their liquor stores and
gas pumps, the hand-fed,
fat sparrows giving way
easily to his talons, a
feather floating down
atop the idle lawn tractor
for a moment and then blowing
into the irrigation cut and
heading outward into
spring green fields.

For the eagle, the
air is not the same,
but again, it has not
yet become so different
that he cannot soar, and
easily escape the earth,
with its empty beer bottles
and discarded rocking
chairs, with its diesel
noise and roadway
graters, with its gawking
tourists beside their
Subarus, with its
leathernecked locals,
embroiled in their
own slow tradgedies
in the backyard.

For the eagle, this
red land yet remains
wild enough to
call home.

5 comments:

MB said...

Welcome back, Firehawk.

As for the eagle, the canyons provide a refuge for us, too. Thanks for bringing me a taste of them again. I've missed it.

drthunder said...

Wonderful contrasts. At once, beautiful and thoughtful. Getting in touch with Dine' Bikeya Nizhoni certainly sharpened all of your senses.

Mushster said...

You've made me wish I was an eagle.

Bill said...

Ahhh a wonderful taste of the great outdoors, mountains, canyons both areas I love!

I've often sat and watched hawks, or eagles, in flight and envied them that ability, to glide, seemingly effortlessly, on the winds...

This was as close to that as words could take me.

Firehawk said...

MB,

Thanks for the welcome. Glad to be back, though it was a good vacation. Glad to provide a bit of the great outdoors for you.

Doc,

We walk in beauty when we can.

Mush,

Seems awfully tempting sometimes, I agree.

Bill,

Flying's probably a lot harder than it looks from the ground, but I'll agree--it does make all of us land-bound flat feet feel envious.

Thanks for coming around, guys. I've been caught up in other stuff, so I don't know exactly when the next installment will be. Let's hope for sooner, rather than later.

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