A Reflection in Birds

Last Sunday I needed to make a decision. I was debating leaving my job, unsure which way to go. So I went for a run in search of clarity. I hit the trail dressed in black, only my white head exposed to the winter wind.

As I crossed a ridge a flock of geese scattered below me. I wrongly assumed I had stirred them up.

Then he appeared. A bald eagle, tracing the edge of the lake, scaring up the geese as he soared by.

At that moment I knew what I had to do. The next morning I would tell my boss I was leaving.

Eagles possess a near-mystical symbolism in my imagination. As a boy my sketchbooks were full of studies of the birds. I would bring home bald eagle books from the library and carefully replicate the photos in graphite.

I was 17 when I saw an eagle for the first time. I persuaded my girlfriend to drive hours to a spot along the Mississippi River where we could spot their white heads through our binoculars.

I often find myself projecting my personal struggles and triumphs on the birds I observe.

I will never forget a mighty hawk I saw flying directly into the wind at full strength, his forward momentum in perfect equilibrium with the resistance.

There was that crippled goose at the park with its leg bent forward at the knee, hobbling for scraps of food.

The dove I struck with my car and scooping his guts out of the hole in my headlight.

Those tiny black birds pestering the giant crow.

The content osprey, perched in his home above the creek, oblivious to my daily commute.

How I envy the hawks circling groundhogs below, rising in beautiful arcs, motionless except for the imperceptible adjustments that keep their direction true.

Leaving a job is hard, especially when the employer is a place like TrainingPeaks. It’s impossible to know if my next flight will resemble the eagle I saw on that run. All I can do is approach it with optimism, hoping I can stir up a flock of progress as I flap my wings.

Thanks for reading my post this week. I write stories like this every Saturday morning, so consider following me if my words resonate with you. Stay creative.

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