One winter a family of bald eagles nested nearby. They'd sit out on the ice, looking like a collection of black tombstones. Tall. Surprisingly so in comparison to their smaller hawk cousins.
But timid. I'd try to get close enough for a good camera shot but they always leaped into the air and flapped over to the other end of the frozen water.
One day I ran into a park ranger at Lagerman and asked him about the eagles. He went into a long description of their wintering habits.
"They sure are majestic," I said. "I'll bet they keep the prairie dog population down around here.
"Humpf." The ranger shook his head. "They're real lazy birds. They wait around for the other predators to get some food and then they swoop down and steal it."
Timid and lazy, those eagles.
Funny how appearances can be so deceiving. With their piercing eyes, powerful claws and regal stance, it's no wonder our founding fathers thought the eagle made an appropriate representation of our nation's strength and courage.
Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be our national bird.
Personally, I'd like to see an animal hybrid sitting on the flagpole above our nation's flag.
- How about a prairie dog, for its dedication to community. . .
- the wolverine for its tenacity and courage. . .
- the dove, for our Christian roots. .
- and, last, the dog, for its intelligence and loyalty.
- Are we still devoted to one another?
- Are we still characterized by determination and bravery in the face of grave danger?
- Do we still honor the Lord Jesus Christ as our nation's God?
- Are we smart enough to see danger up ahead and avoid it, and do we still care about our fellow citizens enough to try to protect them: the elderly, the unborn, the helpless, the widow, the orphan?
Or, like the eagle, do we just look noble?