My little corgi dog, Gracie, and I often take a late afternoon walk to the beach. Last week on a cold, rainy winter day we trotted to the top of the community stairs. I was busy unlocking the gate, as we have done hundreds of times.
All of a sudden Gracie started barking. I looked up thinking another neighbor might be coming up the stairs, but I could not see anyone. Her barking got more intense and then I saw it. Not ten feet from us perched on the top stair railing between two wild rose bushes was a full adult bald eagle. I squatted down and told Gracie I could see the eagle and we should be quiet.
The bird was staring at us from ten feet away. Hmmm . . . . I thought. We may not be going down to the beach. The bird had an intensity of presence and its wings were slightly hanging down as if trying to get dry in the rain, or perhaps it was injured. I was not sure.
Slowly, I opened the gate. Gracie was on a perfect heel. The bird remained motionless. We stopped. Three creatures sharing the same ten foot, wild edge of Whidbey Island sized one another up. In a split second the eagle raised its powerful wings and abdicated the space. Gracie bolted back through the gate. And the ordinary afternoon walker was reminded again of the potential for wonder in every outing.