i often, out of laziness, find myself wishing i were a bird. they don’t have to worry about picking careers or successfully moving out of their mother’s house for good. i’m sure their worries are more life and death, but at 28, moving out feels like life and death pretty much.
i had just, for the first time, purchased a car, by myself, like an adult. it was on the way back from taking it to be photographed at the insurance office that, sitting at one end of a lake, i saw a bald eagle. having had a week of feeling like i was on top of the life game, i immediately turned around to get a better look. instead of what i usually do which is, “oh, no. by the time i turn around it’ll be gone. and where will i turn around? and no, i’ll just keep going.” and then even as i say the words i immediately regret them but still never turn around. so i turned the hell around cuz i was an ADULT, goddammit!
and even as the cop passed me as i maneuvered at the bottom of a road leading up to the development that looks out over the lake, i thought, “as long as i say, with determination, ‘a BALD EAGLE, OFFICER,’ his patriotic duty is to let me off with a warning.” he didn’t care. cops don’t care if you turn around.
even as quickly as i had glimpsed the white head and dark body, i thought “something is wrong with this eagle.” and when i got back to the other end of the lake, parked, and crossed the road to stand at the guardrail that lines the shore, i knew it wasn’t a bald eagle that was perched on the dead tree reaching out over the water. through my binoculars i could see his head was not completely white. he had sad tear-stain streaks of brown running down from his eyes. i had never seen an osprey before, and really i don’t know how i even knew they existed, but in my head a persistent voice was whispering, “osprey, osprey, osprey. totally, definitely, osprey.”
i knew he knew i was there and that i was there to look at him. and much like i would be if i were that bird, he was probably pissed that his tree-sitting revery was spoiled by someone who didn’t understand privacy. i only got to watch the bird for a minute before he took off. he glided on giant wings, totally disproportionately long wings, towards the trees on the far shore where i lost him. i scanned the trees, back and forth, but i couldn’t find him. he was probably on his way home to his mommy-less nest.
i got back in my new-to-me car and went home, too. the feeling of being an adult quickly vanished soon thereafter.