The Wanderer And The Eagle

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Wanderer & The Eagle

 One day I wandered alone along life's winding pathway. I was content to keep my own company while enjoying the peaceful countryside all around. Turning a corner, I spied a large bird on a grassy knoll not far away. Even at a distance I was attracted by the creatures majesty, and I crept forward to get a clearer view.

It was a beautiful Eagle. My pulse quickened, each moment expecting it to spread its great wings and fly away. So I began to wonder at the mystery. Why was I so honoured with its presence ? The bird had seen me sure enough, yet somehow it seemed both welcoming and afraid.

Nearer I moved, holding my breath lest he should take to the skies and be gone. Soon I was so close that I could see the Eagles eyes, but these seemed strangely sad and dulled. Yet in those eyes, for an instant, I caught the gleam of strength and beauty, with which the soaring Eagle doth delight the world.

Then the answer to my question was revealed as I saw that it was tethered to a wooden stake, by a fine wire fastened to the poor bird's claw. Some inner sense told me that the bird had been captive for a long time. No‑one could remember how or why, or even if it had tied the knot itself. 

It looked lean and hungry so I threw it some pieces of bread, and these, to my delight, it eagerly consumed.

Closer still I moved, and gazed with awe at its shiny feathers, black beak and claws. Its hunger made it friends with me and it took bread from my outstretched hand. I gave willingly for I enjoyed being close to, and being needed by a creature of such awesome majesty, a friendship born out of mutual need. I gently stroked its feathered head.

My Eagle !
A foolish thought !, both selfish and absurd, it's sad situation allowed me to possess the bird. My happiness came from its captivity. Should I really set it Free. But seeing it's Hurt, I felt it's Pain and I resolved to release it. However in my earnest innocence I never considered that the bird might now prefer the security of captivity.

As I watched, I saw how the Eagle had learned to cope with it's plight. When it had struggled to be free, the wire cut deep into its flesh causing it great pain, so it had learned to stay close to the wooden stake to which it was tied. By never pulling tight on the wire, both pain and tether could be forgotten. It had traded it's pain for a self‑imposed loss of freedom. And yet veiled behind those sad eyes, I glimpsed the mountains and a free spirit soaring high. So I resolved to set it Free, with sadness, for I had no reason to believe that in it's freedom it would still be my friend.

I stooped down to loosen the wire from round it's claw, but the wound was sore and when I touched it, the pain transformed the Eagles trust in me to anger, for it seemed the one who had been it's friend, now sought to cause it hurt. Blinded by pain the Eagle savagely tore at my outstretched hand, how could it understand that my action was only born out of Love ? For me it was no more than my right hand seeking to remove a thorn from my left hand.

That knowledge alone sustained me as I struggled to release the knot, 'till at last the tether fell loose and the great bird struggled free. Free from both the wire and me. It ran and staggered down the hill beating its huge wings and finally remembered how to fly......Free !

I stood motionless, suddenly alone, the brief joy of success now swallowed by a growing ache deep within me, for my action had forced us to part. But as the mighty bird climbed higher into the deep blue sky, I knew that now a part of me flew with the Eagles and could see the world more clearly from on high.

Now the wanderers tale is told, One question before the memory fades ?

Which roles in Life do we unknowing play ?

Eagle, Wanderer, the Deep Blue Sky ?

We play them all, You and I

Richard Epworth

March 1987

 

Last updated 2007-10-19