My mother enjoyed nature, especially when it stayed out of her house and minded its own business. She liked the seasonal birds who ate out of the feeders she provided (of course the birds never knew that the reason she put them up in the first place was to entertain the cat), and was fine with the occasional butterfly or luna moth–again; as long as they stayed outside.
She was always impressed by large birds. One winter’s night when I was in grade school, we were driving home from my grandparents’ home. At the time, Dad drove a beautiful little cream-colored MG-TD with green leather seats. I was still small enough to fit in the well behind the two front seats.
The hood ornament on the MG was quite large, and on that night as we drove home, a big gray barn owl flew up and landed on it. It stared at the three of us–and all four of us were transfixed for the moment. Then it flew off, and, the spell broken, Mom exclaimed, “It’s an eagle! It’s an EAGLE!” To her, any big bird was an eagle.
Prior to 1962 when we moved into the first (and only) house we ever owned, we lived in a wonderful apartment with a large sun porch overlooking the lake. We loved that sun porch with its wonderful view of the lake. During thunderstorms we would quickly gather up all the pillows we could find and sit on them on the porch to watch the lightning dance across the water.
There was a long rolling hill down to the water with a dock. On warm days I spent a lot of time diving off it, swimming , or just lying on a towel in the sun reading. Dad’s canoe was tied up there, and we took it out many times during the summer. One misty morning, Mom was enjoying a second cup of coffee on the sun porch. All of a sudden, Dad and I heard her yell, “It’s an eagle! It’s an EAGLE!”
Of course, we went thundering out on the porch to see it. There on the dock stood a great blue heron. Not an eagle, I told her. “Well,” she said. “It’s as big as one!”
Dad mentioned recently that one time when they traveled up to Maine, she happened to see a moose with a huge set of antlers. Excitedly, she shouted to Dad, “it’s an eagle! It’s an EAGLE!” (I’m thinking she saw the huge antlers as wing span.)
Just the other day as I was talking with a friend on the phone, I saw an enormous blue heron sail across the sky and land right on the top of a big spruce across the street. I starting laughing because I just knew that Mom was somewhere saying; “it’s an eagle! It’s an EAGLE!”
It just goes to show that just because someone has passed on doesn’t mean that they don’t still have their sense of humor!