Tuesday, May 31, 2016


I took that photo with a fancy camera that a friend let me borrow. I felt almost giddy when I peered through the lens and saw these magnificent creatures. That's the female bald eagle on the right, and the male has just flown in. The sky was impossibly blue, and the nest was perched high above a canyon and dam, at the top of a spindly tree. The male flew in and the female left. Then the female flew back and the male left. Eagles soar. The chicks poked their heads up every now and then, I sighed and felt the same sense of exhilaration each time. It was breath-taking, a sight I will never forget.

I also saw my first owl -- four Great horned Owls up in a tree behind a library near Huntington Beach. Some of you might remember that I lived in the woods for three weeks on Whidbey Island last summer. I had a three-week residency at Hedgebrook that seems like a dream today, but I swear it happened. What didn't happen there is that despite all of the other women seeing owls and my hearing owls, I never did catch sight of one. I didn't take it personally and decided that perhaps I was meant not to see an owl, but I've had an obsession with owls since childhood when I collected them in the way that nerdy, bookish girls collected things in the early seventies. I even hooked an owl rug in green and orange that hung over my bookshelf whose top was covered with them.

So there you go.

After seeing the four owls sitting in the tree, I teared up. The tears ran down my face when one of the adults swiveled its head and looked right at me. I could swear I had one of those spirit encounters. My friend gave me that gift, that encounter. Over the last fifteen or so years, I've felt, often, like I'm stifling panic, like I'm going through life strongly but more willfully than naturally. It's a pick your baby up and stash her under your arm and run away, away, away kind of feeling and I've had it more often than not. It's a lonely feeling. It's a Dickensonian my life is a loaded gun kind of feeling, and when I gazed into the owl's eyes or she gazed into mine I could feel the wind at my back but peace ahead and maybe even right there in front of me.

After I saw the owls, I wandered with my friend through the park, looked up through bark and branches and leaves to green and a portal to blue sky. It was almost too much so I lay down on the ground and closed my eyes, felt the good good earth at my back.


  1. Two years ago Bill and I were in Waterton National Park. There was a bear and her three cubs beside the road, munching on dandelions in the rain. We stopped and watched them. I burst into tears. It was so beautiful.

    We get to go watch eagles in three more weeks. I can hardly wait. It's good for the soul, this outdoors stuff. And you look so relaxed and beautiful, laying on the ground.

  2. What a wonderful thing to experience, and on a writing retreat, where you can get it all down as soon as possible. I'm thrilled for you finding your way forward with your manuscript. You are exceptionally gifted, exceptionally sensitive and strong in a way that few others are. Not that you can't be hurt, but strong in the way of deep roots, years of standing up and bending with storm winds, sap still rising, bearing leaves and fruit. You are a magnificent shade tree with multicolored leaves, and you offer comforting shelter to many with your honest voice. I am grateful to know you!

  3. I adore the sight of you lying open chested on the ground, the earth holding you, the sky covering you. It does look like a deeply spiritual moment. And your writing, wow. You explain so exactly the feeling of "stifling panic" so that even one who has never felt it in quite that way can understand what it is. Brilliant. Thank you for sharing as you do.

  4. I know, KNOW, that my mother is watching me through her various bird disguises. And I am not a tree hugging person, although there are times when it would help.
    You and the birds look fantastic.

  5. A connection to a natural moment, like seeing an amazing creature in the wild, can do a lot to restore the sense of self we lose in our day-to-day lives.

    When I lived in Florida, an owl once sat hooting in a pine tree outside my window in the middle of the night. I woke and saw it sitting there, very plainly, and then a second one flew up silently to join it. So surreal to have that happen in the middle of the night!

  6. I am gasping with the beauty of all of this. The eagles, the words. You.

  7. Now applying to be your owl, eagle, and great blue heron guide.

  8. Your eagle photo is fantastic. They take my breath away. I had the wrong lens and setting on my camera when I saw mine this Spring and my images were not what I had hoped, but my memories are perfect. My two owl encounters will always stay with me too, as they were spiritual and humbling and magical.

    I love your picture. It made me smile. I hope you see many more owls, and I hope you keep taking those bird pics, they are great!

  9. The relief you felt is right there in that picture. I'm so glad you sent it, the birds, the long needed rest, you stepped into a moment of grace and it nourished you and you shared it. Thank you.

    I too, know that panic, for far too long as well. I'm going out to lay in the grass.

  10. Well of course you feel like you are stifling panic! The realities of Sophie's health, and the terrible things you must cope with on a daily basis would drive anyone to panic and beyond. The wonder is that you find these moments of grace and are able to embrace them, and are able and willing to share them.

  11. This post plucks some chord deep inside of me. So deep, I feel it will take a while for the resonant sound to come up from within me. I have had these kinds of moments at times in my life, most recently a surreal humpback sighting in Hawaii that no one else saw. By the time I could point, there was nothing but a ripple. I felt that the whale had breached full length and hovered, mid-air, just for me.

    You are incredibly strong. You don't know how often you lend your strength to me. Like St. Bride, the Patroness of poets, healers and smithcraft.



  12. Wow. I've only seen an owl twice since living up here in eagle and owl country. That's awesome. Peace ahead and the wind at your back. What a gift.

  13. Love these stories! Especially the owls moment <3 Yay!

  14. Hello dear friend,
    I finally managed to stumble off the merry-go-round that is my life and catch up on my reading of your beautiful blog. When I read this post, I wept. Your words resonate through my soul and I feel at times as if we share the same beating heart.

    This post

    Your experience here

    is significant

    I am not surprised you needed to lay down fully to allow Mother Earth to ground you.
    Soaring with the eagles is some powerful stuff.

    You my dear friend received validation.

    Spirit has spoken

    As you know, I believe spirit speaks to us, not with words but symbols. Animal symbols are the most powerful since they are one with Mother Nature.

    I know your thoughts about scripture but I believe in this case it is relevant

    Ask and ye shall receive

    It appears, at least to me, that much of what you asked for or began to question during your writers retreat has indeed been answered.

    There has been transformation.

    There is much the eagle symbolizes but in this case I believe it is the pairing that is significant. Males and females share equally in the responsibility of caring for the young. This is the "picture" you were given. Parenting is about union, balance and mutual respect.

    To continue...and state, of course, the obvious.

    Eagles are freedom


    Can you allow yourself to soar?
    You are being reminded to have the courage to reach further
    in all areas of your life
    to trust in yourself and all of your gifts
    I believe there is also a very deep spiritual significance here.
    A seeking of God/Spirit?
    A desire to seek it/or perhaps trust in it?
    I believe you have been truly blessed
    Very humbling and uplifting..!
    You deserve much happiness my dear dear friend

  15. ps. The owl "moment" is your spirit self, a kind of looking in the mirror and seeing "who" you really are. Use your owl (and its energy) for meditation purposes, she can help guide/ground you.



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