Ministerial Meandering

Paying attention

There are some of us - no names, no finger pointing - who glide obliviously through life and don’t notice things.

Most of them will tell you that’s just not true, and they are noticing lots of things - as they step into something unmentionable on the pathway or trip over an obvious projecting kerbstone.  They will tell you in detail how many times that house has been on the market, and what so-and-so has done with his bushes - and aren’t those crocosmia wonderful?

Well, yes, they are! - but they can be hard to appreciate if you just ricked your back trying to regain balance from that kerbstone the council should have dealt with by now!

Being a horticultural Philistine, and really not the slightest bit interested in the house that has been up for sale so many times, or whatever the heck so-and-so has done with his or her ruddy bushes - I prefer to notice things that could be a threat to health - like a jutting kerbstone or a pile of poo.

It can make for some interesting walks, when you partner someone who notices completely different things to you.

I was walking Gracie this morning early - around 0630 - at Harrison Lake, and noticed a bald eagle come swooping in very low to the lagoon, swing around in a rather undecided fashion over the waterfront restaurants and apartment blocks, before settling in a low tree within 10 feet or so of where I was.

He or she (they have identical plumage) was almost instantly harassed by a somewhat small crow - or at least it appeared small, but perhaps it was just the immediate juxtaposition with a very large bird of prey.

This eagle ignored the crow, looking at me and Gracie who, by now, had stopped to see what would happen.  The crow persisted, getting ever closer with his courage or foolhardiness, as he inched along the branch to where the eagle sat proudly.

Whilst still on the far side of the lagoon, Gracie and I had encountered a gaggle of Canada geese, complete with squadrons of young whose plumage was getting more impressive by the day.  Ten years ago - well, maybe slightly less, as she’s only 9 and a half now - Gracie would have tugged hard to be allowed off leash to chase what we called ‘dragons’, after a story in Winnie-the-Pooh.

Now a mature dog, she has learned that dragons cheat - and take to the air as soon as you get within about 6 feet of them - so she is content to let them be, for the most part.

Having almost completed our walk, and still watching the dare-devil or kamikaze display by the aforementioned crow, the penny slowly fell from my hand, and as it dropped, I realized that the eagle, whose vision is a full 340 degrees (way beyond our paltry 180) was also watching the young geese on the far side of the lagoon.

My eagle was being canny, because an eagle’s eyes are fixed in their sockets and don’t move, allowing them to remain immobile and yet still see almost entirely around themselves without moving their heads at all.

Thus, whilst appearing to be looking fixedly at me and Gracie, I strongly suspect that our eagle was picking out his next gosling meal.

Nevertheless, the pestiferous crow finally irritated my eagle beyond his/her endurance, and he took off slowly, gliding low and menacing over the lagoon, causing the adult geese to close ranks around their collective young.

Even though the eagle had gone to settle in another tree on the lakeshore side of the lagoon, the crow continued his incessant harassment, whether for the safety of his own nest that might have contained young, or for the young goslings in a show of supreme altruism.  Either way, if you see an eagle immobile and looking apparently away from you - if you can see her eyes, she can see you; so it’s wise to pay attention - she’s watching you.



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