Oftentimes, the spark of hope we need, the boost of positivity we crave is found at the most unexpected moments in the most random of places. And in these times we now face which test our patience and resolve, we will take whatever inspiration we can find. For me, it was in the parking lot of a small office building.
While helping my husband cart files and boxes out of his work place last Friday as he prepared to join the rest of the family in working from home, I was thinking how our society’s sense of normalcy had deteriorated day by day throughout the week. So much of what we knew and took for granted had ceased, albeit temporarily. Trying to process it all, we walked to the car, arms loaded with supplies until he stopped in the middle of the parking lot and glanced at two towering pine trees in the grove beyond his office. “Look,” he said to me, gesturing upward. “There, in the second tree. Do you see it?”
Squinting my eyes against the late afternoon sun, I wondered what “it” was until I saw a slight movement within the branches. A bald eagle. Large, commanding, regal. Right, I remembered. He had been telling me about this. That slight movement suddenly became more pronounced, and from there, the bird flew from the pines, wingspan out-stretched, across the cerulean sky. “That’s the female,” my husband explained. “We see her every day coming and going. She’s been nesting up there for weeks. Such patience…”
In awe, I stood there, watching her go. Such patience, indeed, and such beauty, and so obviously unaware of the surreal challenges that the world below her was confronting. Life continued as usual, if not for us then at least for her.
As we loaded boxes into the car, I couldn’t keep from glancing upward. These times have stressed us all, but the cycle of nature endured, essentially unaffected by our troubles. That eagle continued to build and prepare for what would come next: the completion of her nest, the hatching of her offspring. She was doing what she was meant do in this time, persevering in her world as we were doing in ours, as challenging as it may be.
Still awaiting the bird’s return, since my husband said she never left the nest for long, I remembered a scene from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring: “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” And so now, we decide to hope, to persist, to marvel at those unexpected moments that bring us the inspiration we need just when we need it.
The eagle did return, a twig in her beak, soaring across Southport Harbor with her unabashed majesty and grace and settling back in her nest to wait patiently. For she knew, just as we do, of the hope and expectation yet to come.