Eagle As Spirit

For Sunday Scribblings: #229  Dangerous

About five days ago, just at dusk, when the sun has gone down and shadows begin to creep out to reclaim the land for night’s sake, I was in my room working on some writing on my computer. My oldest daughter, who had been staying over to help with preparations for a family gathering, was in the living room watching television. She went from quiet to almost a distressed yelp, as she called out, “Mom, you gotta come see this, right now Mom, come see this, Now!”

Not wanting to be distracted, I wondered what could possibly be on the tv that would cause that tone of almost distress to ring clear through the two different rooms we occupied. With a sigh, I got up from my chair and made my way into the living room to stand behind her, where she sat on the couch. I was looking over her shoulder at the tv, and seeing only a commercial.

Then realized that she was pointing outside, through the patio windows. I looked and saw a huge bird, on the ground, no more than two feet from where I often sit on a glider type patio chair. I had just about enough time to register the white tail and light head, before the full grown bald eagle began to amble forward for take off. And was gone.

I was stunned. I live on the ground floor and at the back of an apartment complex. My concrete patio is no more than about four feet wide, and a length of grass covered ground reaches about eight feet beyond that to an eight-foot high wooden fence that blocks the view of yet another apartment complex on the other side of it.

My daughter and I stared at one another for a minute, trying to comprehend what we had just seen, then moved in tandem to the patio doors to open them and peer out. The eagle was long gone, from ground and visible sky, almost as though she’d never really been there at all.

My daughter, age 41 and long aware of my fascination for birds of prey, began to eagerly tell me that she’d just been sitting there when she caught movement from outside. Watched the eagle land, and stretch her neck out to peer around at the fence where small trees grow almost embracing it. She said she thought it must have been hunting something it spied while flying overhead. That small patch of ground is habitat to rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and gophers, while the lean trees are perches for yellow finches, an occasional blue-jay, woodpecker, or cardinal, and on rarer sightings, a hawk or two. It runs the length of  a city block and is well-kept by a maintenance crew.

Which means it isn’t a very likely landing pad for a bald eagle, certainly not the size of the one we had just seen. There are larger trees that overhang the fence from the other side, high utility poles that provide lighting during the hours of darkness and supply both electrical and telephone conduits. That also made it a dangerous place for an eagle to set down.

The eagle has long been a symbol of spirit. That quality that goes beyond reason and becomes a motivating factor for we humans in reaching certain goals and maintaining certain aspects of life and relationship. A winning spirit is that seemingly extra ingredient that allows athletes to cross the finish line ahead of the competition, but also compels business people to succeed in a harsh reality that only contains just so many niches for success above a certain level.

A Creative spirit sees possibilities and connections where others might look and know only the same old, same old. There is a healing spirit that extends a helping hand instinctively and many times without thought of the consequences of doing so. And introspective spirit that looks inward for understanding and verification, and the list goes on and on. And the eagle has, or symbolizes all of them.

Here, in the United States, it symbolizes the spirit of freedom that reaches past law and seeks something more than just the norm, a better, wider place for all of its diverse members and citizens. The eagle represents a freedom of thought as well as that of spirit and belief. And it is a fierce looking symbol of all of that, and the freedom to fly, to soar high above the mundane aspects of life.

Eagles inhabit high rocky outcrops, open to all aspects of weather. And when that weather changes, forming into storms, dark clouds, high winds, and rain, the eagle is able to rise above those realities and soar with the storm beneath, untouched by its affects and effects. And the human spirit, when faced with the often ongoing difficulties of life, has the ability to do the same, and often does. Which only means that we often hear about ordinary people, doing extraordinary things.

In 1995, Dean Koontz published a book titled Intensity. In it, he explores the story of one young woman who finds the courage within herself, to confront evil, for the sake of a young girl she doesn’t know, and to win against the odds. On the final page, Koontz has his character realize something perhaps, that unless personally experienced, might not be understood by others.

Scared less of Vess than of this new thing that she had found in herself. This careless risking. And now she knows it is nothing that should have frightened her. It is the purpose for which we exist. This careless risking.

She, the character, had found the spirit within herself, that element that allowed her to overcome the obstacles, to rise above them to save, not just that unknown girl, but herself as well. I loved that quote and for several reasons identified with it. It eventually worked its way into a poem I wrote well over ten years ago. A poem that this most recent encounter with the bald eagle reminded me of, and the current prompt simply underlined. I went back in my files and found the poem, and it is still as true today as it was back there when it was written. Today, I face different difficulties, different obstacles and storm fronts. Today, I am still willing to carelessly risk. Here is the poem,

Numbers Game

At 52, I am single, no longer someone’s spouse,
                    live in a small rented house,
                    but never quite alone.

At 52, I am a poet, tumble home through sea
                    of words, where I catch my breath
                    just above the water line.

At 52, I am a teacher, tell others to express
                    themselves, breath out, exhale, so they won’t
                    explode or hyperventilate.

At 52, I read, sell, and make words that sing
                    soul songs, always searching for
                    counter-point harmony.

At 52, I look for more laughter, cry more easily,
                    move more slowly, and sit down a lot.

Have decided that at 53 I shall carelessly risk
                    becoming dangerous again.

Elizabeth Crawford 1999
first published in Splitting Darkness: Poems by Elizabeth Crawford.


About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: http://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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14 Responses to Eagle As Spirit

  1. Nanka says:

    Well said Elizabeth …Eagle the symbol of Freedom and your own take-off to Freedom in the poem’s last line is truly brilliant.

    • 1sojournal says:


      thank you. The poem is the final and anchor piece for my first small volume of poetry. The book was an exploration of the grief process which ends with a recommitment to life, and to living it fully. It has been a true source for me recently as I have once again traveled through the grief process after losing my Mother a few months back. When I went back and read through it, I knew it was time to recommit and that’s why it is posted here.

      Brilliant is wonderful and I’m still trying to accept such a definition. Thank you again,


  2. Jae Rose says:

    She came for you and your daughter to see – it must have been a place she felt safe to sit for a while. How magical…and I am glad you are about to ‘carelessly risk becoming dangerous again’ (your post and the quote made me realise that danger and risk is not always negative either..thank you!)..thanks for your visit..Jae

    • 1sojournal says:

      Hello Jae Rose, and thank you for visiting as well. I have long believed that these types of encounters are not accidental or coincidence. I am a follower of the signs and symbols that are ever around all of us. I needed her visit and no matter how ‘accidental’ it might seem to others, these things happen to me far too often to ignore or disregard them. And I also believe that the Universe is both generous and kind to those of us who stay open and pay attention. And even more so to those of us who choose to make note of it,


  3. Old Egg says:

    It is an amazing privilege to have witnessed the Bald Eagle in this way. Let’s hope the experience will be an inspiration for your work in the future. Enjoyed the visit.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Old Egg, yes I would agree, it was and is a privilege. But then I always feel that way. One of the reasons I started this blog was to make note of such occurences. As I said earlier, they happen often and there is usually a message in them. This blog could easily become a type of memoir of such encounters and the things I learned from them. Thanks for stopping, reading and commenting,


  4. Marsha says:

    I agree, the eagle’s visit was portentous, and I love the concept of ‘carelessly risking’. I wasn’t taught how to risk anything, carelessly or not, so living ‘dangerously’ is an unknown to me. I dangerously live in a cocoon. I’ll write about that I guess.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Marsha, you might want to go and read this story:


      I grew up inside a cocoon as well. No loud feelings were allowed, they were considered inappropriate and not the thing to do. Not easy for someone who is not luke-warm about any aspect of life. I had to learn, one step at a time, and part of the process was the above story which originally happened about thirty years ago. And although I still often hear that silencing voice inside my head, I have come to believe that life, any and all of it, is dangerous and risky. So, I now have a tendency to hush that voice and continue, sometimes scared shitless, but continue I must. Safe places hold their own form of dangerous and careless risking,


  5. Another very wise post! Thanks I loved it.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Annell, this is only one of three separate encounters I had during what I have now decided to call ‘My Summer of Feathered Graces’. I love the Universe and the wisdom that abides all around us. If we but open our eyes, lean in to listen, it is all around us in the most common, yet special places. Thanks for continuing to browse and I enjoyed my visit to your site as well.



  6. One of the most special things that happened to me this summer, was to have a chance meeting with a brilliant red dragonfly. I will keep that forever. And as I was reading your post, a bird, went “bonk” on the large window of my studio. I went to see, and he was no where to be found, so I guess he wasn’t hurt too bad. These meetings are magic!

    • 1sojournal says:

      Wonderful! The dragonfly is the guardian of dreamtime, the imagination, whether we are asleep or doing wakeful dreaming. You have been officially invited into that realm. Congratulations! I do believe you requested just that and I am pleased that it has now happened.

      Maybe your visitor was there to say, “Come outside, we have so much to tell you.” But, your story reminds me of several others, one in particular. A former student came to visit with her fiance. She brought me a hanging pot of bright red geraniums and we had gone outside to hang it from the hook on the patio overhang. We came back inside only to turn around and see a beautiful little hummingbird sampling her gift. We looked at one another and just started giggling. The hummingbird is a symbol of joy that doesn’t survive in captivity. And by the way, that is the only hummingbird I have seen on my patio, in the three years I’ve lived here. Yes, definitely magic!


  7. I am remembering another, it was on the “going away day” the memorial service of my husband. We were in the back yard, having returned to my home, after the service. I looked up, and there was a bald eagle flying above my house. It was magic. And on another afternoon, in this same time frame, I was sitting in the back yard, trying to make decisions about my future, and looked up to see the (maybe) same eagle, flying over and looking down at me. These were the only times I ever saw eagles flying above my house. It was a very magical time. On another day, there is more I would like to share.

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