Refilling The Well

Canada Geese northbound


It’s spring, and a young bird’s fancy turns….

Okay, I finally believe it. Spring is really here. I mean, once I’ve seen the Canada Geese flying north in formation, I know it’s just me who hasn’t felt it. I trust their internal clocks more than mine, because their time doesn’t get messed with, they don’t deal with things like daylight savings time and other man-made idiocies that keep us thinking we’re somehow in control of nature. (can you tell I’m not a fan? Grump, snarl…)

But I digress.

I’ve introduced my neighbors before. But in case you missed it, here they are, sharing a quiet moment in a nearby tree.

eagle pair

One of the great joys of living in the Northwest is seeing these magnificent creatures on a regular basis. This time of year, almost daily. One of the first bird calls  I learned when we moved here years ago was theirs; it’s unmistakable once you’ve heard it. (I was given a small, stuffed bald eagle as a gift once, the type you squeeze and get the bird’s call. They got it exactly right.)

Everyone, writer or not, I think finds themselves now and then in a place where they just can’t keep going. Where they’re beaten down, too weary to go on. Where they’ve gone to the well once too often, and this time come up dry. Times like this, you need to know what refills your well, and then make a conscious effort to do it. For some it’s reading for hours. For others it’s getting outdoors, walking or hiking. For some it’s traveling.

For some, like me,  it’s doing something with your hands, creating something entirely different. Knitting, for me, takes up an entirely different set of brain cells, and lets the writing part of the brain rest and refill. And when I can combine it with sitting outdoors and waiting for my neighbors to come by, it’s even better.

Since I’m between books at the moment, I’ve had time to enjoy the show that truly means spring around here. My neighbors are celebrating the arrival in the way only they can. By flying, soaring, together.

eagle pair flight

And this year, for only the second time since I’ve lived here, I had the soul-stirring joy of watching an eagle courtship flight. Something impossible to describe, impossible even to really show in pictures, but once you’ve seen it in person, you will never, ever forget it. These two glorious, powerful birds soar skyward. They turn. Lock talons. And fall. Fall in a turning, twisting tumble that is breathtaking. Locked together they plummet, cartwheeling, trusting their instincts and their own strength to save them when at last they break apart, only to soar upward and do it all again.

Courtship. Of the most heart-racing kind. A little bit dangerous. Requiring complete trust. But worth it, in the end. And if you didn’t already know, bald eagles mate for life.

That’s why they refill my well, in a way few things can.


eagle dance crop

4 thoughts on “Refilling The Well

  1. azteclady says:

    That is so beautiful…thank you for sharing it–I’m sure it can fill many wells.

  2. Thanks again for coming by! It does thrill the heart to watch them. They’re hunkered down in that tree at the moment; very windy and rainy out.

  3. Trish Jensen says:

    Wow, BEAUTIFUL pics, Justine. You and I live a continent apart, but I sure do envy yours! No bald eagles here. But I’m a huge critter watcher too, and I love to see the mating rituals as well. Squirrels are hilarious.I have to believe that they’re squirrel laughing as boy chases girl. I don’t know if you have yellow and purple finches in your neck, but in spring the males shed their winter feathers and become extremely yellow and purple to attract mates. I always call my dad and say, “My finches are REALLY yellow and purple (read: ready to get it on, although we use more colorful terms), how about yours?” We make bets on who spots the first robin. We talk hummingbirds and baby mourning doves. I love spring so much. And you’re right, those animals have internal clocks like no human alive. My alarm clock isn’t even that accurate.

    Thanks! LOVED those pics!


    • Thanks, Trish. It is beautiful here. There are problems, of course, as anywhere, but the beauty makes up for a great deal. We have yellow finches, but I don’t think the yellow and purple. My neighbor has bird feeders, and it’s a constant show between the little birds, the big, nasty crows, and the squirrels all fighting for the buffet. When I first moved here all those years ago and saw my first Northwest robin, I about died. I’d never SEEN a robin that big! Where I lived before they were little birds, maybe 5″ beak to tail. These were half again bigger, and I couldn’t quite believe they were really robins!


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