Steve Madewell

Pedestrian Ramblings

Yesterday in the early afternoon, I was driving through the valley, and caught site of a large bird over head. Sure enough it was an eagle, nope there were two eagles!

They were both immature, just beginning to get white on their head and tails, and they were engaged in a mating flight.

Now I don’t know enough about eagles to be sure if this was the real deal and if immatures actually mate or if this was a pseudo mating flight.

Sometimes animals do a sort of pre mating play as juveniles, sort of like teenagers making out. Ideally it’s just practice, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, perhaps you have seen this on nature shows or maybe had the chance to actually watch such a site.

It was an incredible and I pulled the car over and watched for ten minutes or so.

They would circle around over this broad spot in the valley floor, the male was a little smaller and would glide over the female and she would turn upside down. They would grab at each other’s talons as they were falling toward the ground and then disengage and right themselves right above the treetops. Off they would fly, climbing up into the air and repeated this again and again.

To see the female flip and fly upside down and to see the male turn completely sideways and slip down through the air to meet her was simply a spectacular spectacle.

This all was taking place about a quarter mile from my house.

Now you might ask, "Why in the world would I want to move?"

Well that is a good question.

If things progress with the other position, we intend to hang on to this house if we can.

It is a great location and would be a lovely vacation and weekend getaway house.

This might be a pipe dream but then again we’ll sort that out when we get there.

At any rate I have been truly privileged to live for the past 11 years or so in such a cool spot that has generated so many wonderful memories.

I have watched mink hunt in the creek, as well as two big water snakes work together to herd and catch minnows. And no I am not making that up.

I have had red fox sit and look into the back door in the dead of winter as if pondering the possibility of coming in.

I watched a coyote ambush a red fox off the side of the hill.  The next morning I examined the remains in nearly the exact spot where I discovered similar fox remains a few years and wondered what had happened. That day I knew.

MJ and I have been entertained by two families, at the same time, of pileated wood peckers enjoying our suet feeders.  The adults were feeding their clumsy youngsters who couldn’t negotiate hanging upside down to feed themselves.

And I will never forget watching both eagles and kingfishers hunt steelhead in the creek.

The kingfisher realizing at the last second of his dive he was no match for the big fish and pulling off before hitting the water.

And of course there is the recollection of the early morning hours on the day of the five-hundred year flood, lying in bed with MJ feeling large logs smashing into and shaking the entire house while the little creek was roaring with the extreme volume of water.

So yep this is a special place.

I suppose I too am engaged in the Acrobatics of Life.

I know I am privileged to be here, and fortunate to be considered for yet another position that may allow me to continue to work to protect, enhance and share the benefits of these things that inspire me.

I don't know if this is just practice or will produce, but it's the journey that is life.