Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Happy July!

As of today, we've officially made it through the first half of 2015. The local day lilies decided to celebrate that and the upcoming holiday (a little early) by bursting in air today.

day lilies bursting in air
day lilies bursting in air
Photo by J. Harrington

day lilies bursting in air
day lilies bursting in air
Photo by J. Harrington

Yesterday, on the way to do some errands, the Better Half and I saw a bald eagle feeding on road kill a little east of Stacy. We each though it was a nice sight. I then started to remember my reaction to seeing my first bald eagle shortly after I had moved to Minnesota. In those days the degree of excitement was proportional to the rarity of sightings in the metro area. Later, when I worked for the City for Minneapolis, I occasionally saw an eagle soaring over the Mississippi near the Stone Arch Bridge. The vision of an eagle in the city was truly fantastic. More recently still, the State of the River Report summarizes eagle history from shortly before I arrived in Minnesota until now. In 1963, there were less than 500 nesting pairs of bald eagles in the entire lower 48 states. Now, Minnesota alone has 1,300 of the 10,000 pairs nesting in that same area, 36 of them along the Mississippi River's Twin Cities reaches. Frequently, trips along the St. Croix also produce eagle sightings.

bald eagle in the St. Croix watershed
bald eagle in the St. Croix watershed
Photo by J. Harrington

Although they aren't ubiquitous, eagles have clearly become much more common in our neck of the woods than they used to be. I'm delighted the eagle is no longer on the endangered species list. On the other hand, I wonder if the increased frequency with which they can now be seen diminishes the magic of seeing them. If your daily life were filled with magic and/or beauty, how long do you think it would it take until you began to take magic and beauty for granted? Perhaps my ability to take whatever I have for granted puts me in a minority, but I doubt it. Too often I want more, better and different. I'm working harder than ever these days to appreciate what I have, despite my exposure to decades of advertising and marketing intended to create a sense of chronic dissatisfaction that I can "fix" by buying something "new and improved." That's like feeding an addiction. For a change, I'm learning to take a hike in the woods or along the river instead of at the mall. Try something like that as another way to celebrate our freedom and the recovery of our national symbol this Fourth of July.

The Weight

By Linda Gregg 
Two horses were put together in the same paddock.
Night and day. In the night and in the day
wet from heat and the chill of the wind
on it. Muzzle to water, snorting, head swinging
and the taste of bay in the shadowed air.
The dignity of being. They slept that way,
knowing each other always.
Withers quivering for a moment,
fetlock and the proud rise at the base of the tail,
width of back. The volume of them, and each other’s weight.
Fences were nothing compared to that.
People were nothing. They slept standing,
their throats curved against the other’s rump.
They breathed against each other,
whinnied and stomped.
There are things they did that I do not know.
The privacy of them had a river in it.
Had our universe in it. And the way
its border looks back at us with its light.
This was finally their freedom.
The freedom an oak tree knows.
That is built at night by stars.


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