January 25, 2015

What I Learned From an Eagle's Rescue

On a rare childless night, my husband was out running an errand, leaving me in solitude save for the Animal Planet's drone about people and their preposterous pets.

A man somewhere in the British Isles who was a falconer and a classical guitarist was featured. He strummed exquisitely as the camera panned from his fingers to a majestic golden eagle perched just above his right shoulder.

As the guitar playing faded, a voiceover narrated the eagle’s story. The bird, once a resident at a zoo, had been stolen and then hidden in a closet of the thieves who spirited him away. The eagle was kept in this closet until he was rescued and adopted by the falconer.

Upon rescue, the eagle was alive, but had plucked himself nearly bald -- in fits of madness, I guess -- when he realized the fruitlessness of his escape attempts. The falconer nursed the eagle back to health and after a few months, the bird's plumage returned. The next step in rehabilitation was teaching the eagle flight and return patterns, since the falconer is a falconer after all.

Time in a closet taught the eagle that he couldn’t fly, much less fly and return to a falconer. The eagle had ultimately forgotten he was an eagle. So the falconer, somehow through his falconer prowess, reminded the eagle that it was -- well, an eagle -- and that eagles are created to fly.

And now the eagle flies as he was created to do and the falconer is his friend and his personal classical guitarist.


True story. I share it for anyone who’s in a less than comfortable emotional, mental or spiritual space...like I am right now.

Life is just sticky and ugly sometimes.

Sometimes circumstances or people whisk you from a comfort level and box you in, like our eagle friend. After enough time passes and when you’ve banged your head against countless walls and beaten a herd of dead horses, you begin to pluck at yourself.

For me, the plucking I’ve done to myself in the past year is not exercising, not moving and not getting enough restorative sleep. I guess you could say at twenty-five pounds heavier than I was last year and perpetually fatigued, I’m plucked bald.

And then, even if you break free from the box, or see a sliveriest sliver of open sky, time spent in a box teaches you that you can't fly and you second-guess yourself. You forget who you are and for what you were created.

Maybe you’re a parent trying figure out what you’re doing wrong because your baby has suddenly decided it can’t sleep longer than an hour. Maybe you’re a teacher and the kids you’re trying to help only resent you.

Maybe, like me, you’re a writer who’s been boxed in for so long, you second-guess whether you can write.

So I write this post as a reminder to me and to you that we need to stop turning on ourselves and damaging ourselves while we’re in whatever box life has imposed on us. And as I write this (because I can write) and as you read this, I hope you find the strength to do whatever it is you were created to do.

Even if you don't have a classical guitarist falconer reminding you of who you are and how to do whatever it is you were created to do and be, it'll still be beautiful.