Muting the Robin’s Song

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The eagles are testy today. During an early morning hunt for king salmon at Tee Harbor the captain and I watched two mature bald eagles throw down over a baitfish. One hovered ten feet about the water. Using the strong north wind, it gently lowered its talons onto a herring. Getting only its tail feathers wet, it rose up with the fish and headed toward the beach. Another eagle snatched for the fish. The two birds locked talons and twirled in a ball just above the harbor waters. Whether because of centrifugal force or a loss of nerve, the attacker released and fell backwards into the water. I was about to suggest that we motor over and lift its stunned body out of danger with the net when it stirred. By slapping its wings onto the water it managed to lift itself into the air.

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Now Aki and I walk through a soaked forest to the beach. Weak storm light hits the early-summer growth on the understory plants. The illuminated green growth sparkles with beaded rainwater. Robin and thrush songs further brighten the mood until an eagle gives out a shrill lament. Aki, who has gained a sensible caution around the bid birds, moves next to me the trail. The first line of a poem someone should write pops into my head: Grief mutes the robin’s song.

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