From under the Egan Highway bridge over Lemon Creek, Aki and I watch more than 30 bald eagles occupy an island in the creek. I know they landed there to sulk after having just been chased away from the dump. But because one eagle has situated itself on a piece of driftwood above the others, I image her a preacher and the rest, the congregation.
Bald Eagles should be seen soaring all rugged mountain ridges, not hunkered together between city dump and high-speed highway. But, as the locals know, city dumps and streambeds littered with dead salmon are the best places to see the carrion eaters.
The eagle preacher lowers her beak as the more restless members of her congregation fly to trees on the other side of the creek. Others follow and the church reforms on a meadow dotted with the cement bases of WWII era radio antennas.
Aki and head cross back under the bridge and walk onto the wetlands, now dominated by ravens. In the distance, an immature bald eagle rests on a driftwood root-wad perch, holding its wings out to dry. A mature eagle with white head and tail feathers shares the same root wad. Now I imagine a counseling session that breaks up when the little dog and I approach.