Fiction | July 16, 2014

A bald eagle has claimed the same low-hanging branch fifteen feet from the cabin for three consecutive mornings. I’ve begun to think of it as my totem animal, though generally I don’t believe in that kind of thing. You’d imagine the nation’s emblem would have a majestic, full-throated cry, but that’s not the case. It’s definitely a high-pitched chirping. The eagle sits hunched, his body motionless for the better part of an hour, his head pivoting like a lawn sprinkler, tracing the paths of seagulls loitering on Long Pond. The gulls dunk their heads and slap their wings against the water’s surface; it sounds like applause. The eagle reminds me of a big, muscular chocolate Lab perched in a tree. His stillness and patience are unnerving.

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