Judgmental Eagle

This morning only one bald eagle roosts on top of the old Treadwell mine ventilation shaft. Small waves slap at the base of the shaft. Rain soaks into the eagle’s feathers.  It focuses one eye on the little dog and I and forces its eyebrow into a shallow “u.” I’ve seen a similar look on policemen and teachers about to scold a troublesome student. 

            Aki trots over to the beach’s grassy verge, apparently unaware of the eagle’s mood.  A few yards away, a rusted piece of ore car railing emerges from the sand. Further down the beach, the tide has exposed a hundred-year-old engine block. In between chunks of shattered pottery and bricks lay on the beach. Maybe the eagle is upset with the men that left all this junk behind when the mines closed after World War I.

            We walk on down the beach into the wind and exposed to the rain. When Aki and I reach the little bay formed by collapsing mine tunnels, we move into woods that have grown over the mining town of Treadwell. Steel cables, car springs and ore cart railings emerge from the flesh of spruce trees. The trees, not the things manufactured by men, are the aggressors. This is not right. The trees aren’t attacking, just tiding up the mess left by the men who moiled for gold. (“Moiled for gold” borrowed from “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert Service).  

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