Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

(Photo by John Hunter, Nature's Best Photography Awards)

Deuteronomy 32:11-12:

"As an eagle stirs up its nest, and hovers over its young; as it spreads its wings, takes them up, and bears them aloft on its pinions, the Lord alone guided him; no foreign god was with him."

I was reading this piece over on Elizabeth's blog the other day. In the comments, I had mentioned an experience I had back in October 2009 during my trip to Alaska and shortly after my return home.

Honestly, my trip to Alaska to visit my blog friend Robert was such great fun anyway, because it was the combination of meeting a blog friend and scenery that was a wonder, everywhere I looked. But the thing that really kept stopping me dead in my tracks was the sheer number of bald eagles I would see--even within the city limits of Seward. Eagles were everywhere when I took walks. They were by the side of the road. They were alongside lakes, ponds, and inlets. I imagine I saw somewhere close to two dozen eagles in three days there. Oh, I imagine after a while the locals don't even notice them, but I certainly was noticing them, and at a time I needed to see eagles. I was dealing with several simultaneous pressing problems, both at work and at home.

On the way home, I thought about all those eagles--fishing, flying, soaring, and just sitting. I had decided that part of what the "meaning" of this trip was, to bring home images of eagles. We have a few bald eagles in NE Missouri, but you don't see them very often. They're relatively uncommon. But my mind had told myself, "Ok, now you are going back home to face all the things you have to deal with, and these eagles were to remind you of what's out there in another place, so you can remember THAT place."

I did not expect three days after my return (yeah...three days...seriously) what unfolded.

On the Wednesday of my return, I went on one of my "country hospital runs." In addition to being laboratory director of the hospital lab here in Kirksville, our practice covers the management of the laboratories at three smaller critical access hospitals in the area.

I was making my "Kirksville to Unionville to Milan" loop. (For the record, in these parts, that last town is pronounced "MY-lun." No comments, please.) I crossed the Chariton River near Worthington, on the way to Unionville, and what should I see over by the bridge but a bald eagle! It appeared he was just hanging out, fishing.

Then when I went from Unionville to Milan, on Missouri Hwy. 5, I encountered a SECOND bald eagle. This one looked right at me and stretched his wings and ruffled his feathers in a sort of "See? Here I am!" look.

As I drove back to Kirksville, I thought about these two unexpected sightings.

It's strange how we get a notion of the meaning of an event, and time shifts that meaning to some degree. My original thought was the memories of another place, a place more naturally full of wonder, was what was going to carry me through these difficulties I was facing. But it turns out the eagles in Alaska were merely a prelude to the real meaning.

I came to realize, on that drive of the final leg home, that ultimately I was primed to be accepting of seeing eagles right at home, in my own backyard, so to speak--that the eagles were not "elsewhere" but right under my nose. That the transcendence was not from temporarily being in "another place" but in the place right where I was.

The eagles became a reminder that I don't have to look elsewhere to find God--that God was and had been right there with me all along, and that I only had to be accepting of that possibility to see it...and isn't that what understanding a God whose desire is simply to abide with us, all about?



(works every time for me...especially after I zip myself into the straightjacket, adjust the ear plugs and zip up my, the computer keyboard also must be shut off after I run until I drop)

Absolutely. Ever notice we run run run. Run away from what's bugging us. When we finally crump, weak and exhausted...there's God...who was there all along, except we never noticed...because we were busy running!



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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