The Bridge, the Bird, the River—a Triangle of Perception

I paused on my bicycle ride across the Franklin Bridge because I spotted a small patch of white in the bare trees that I immediately recognized as a bald eagle. Far below in the Mississippi River, teams of scullers rowed downstream toward the Short Line Bridge and the Lake Street Bridge beyond that. The eagle, in that moment, seemed so powerful to me, so regal with its quiet stare. The bald eagle is an apex predator. It has no reason to hide. The crows may pester it but they cannot do it harm. Its only enemy is us–our lead and our pesticides. But the bird has no knowledge of these things. It will never be inoculated from invisible viruses. It will live in freedom until it is dead, and along the way it will nurture some offspring to keep the cycle and the species going. I pray no DNR employee has ever placed a metal band on this eagle’s leg with a serial number. This eagle has no name. It is one with its environment, observing it all with a deadly silence that I envy because I am plagued by so many words, words, words that I can’t help but write down when I should just shut up and be.

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