Monday, August 23, 2010

Chanting Under The Eagle

This is the picture that my friend Jozien posted of a young eagle she saw up close the other day. For her blog try this: Juvenile Eagle While you are at it, she does nice outdoor work and I can recommend her archive and other blogs. She lives, married with a nearly grown son in the Canadian Yukon, in a wide spot in the road named Mendenhall, near Whitehorse. She's a Dutch immigrant to Canada and a good friend of mine because of the blogs.

Here is a poem I wrote about a yearling Bald Eagle, one of a pair. We had gone on vacation to Orcas Island, where my lover’s family had property and a small trailer. On this day we took her canoe out on Mountain Lake at the east end of Orcas. We canoed clear around the lake, heading north and then turning east at the north end, then going south to the dam at the south end of the lake. While we were headed south on the far side of the lake a pair of yearling Bald Eagles appeared overhead. They split and one went to our east side, the other to the west side. As we continued, the east eagle was perched on a tree limb but flew off as we neared him. We saw the west side eagle still perched in a dead tree. We continued down to the dam at the south end and returned on the west side.

We saw that the eagle was still in the tree as we approached and I got the idea at that point. I told my lady that we might try something and I then led her in a chant, “Om namo bhagavate vasudevaya.” This is a famous 12 sacred syllable chant honoring the God within us. We chanted low key, soft sounds as we paddled, careful to avoid too much noise of any kind, moving slowly and steadily. It worked. That eagle did not move even though we were only fifteen feet below him. His brother or sister (her?) was long gone out of site. The eagle cocked his head and gave us the eye as we passed, completely interested in whatever about the situation was holding him. I think it was the rhythmic quality of what was going on.

In any case, I felt completely honored that the eagle trusted us, blessed in every sense of the word.

Chanting Under The Eagle

In the green canoe,
paddling Mountain Lake, one end
around and then down
to the other end,
trees overhanging the lake's
rocky cluttered edge,
and in this one tree
giving us the cold sharp eye
a yearling eagle
holds court, permitting
us to pass under. We chant.
Shanti, shantihi.

July 3, 2009 10:05 AM


  1. Wonderful picture of stillness (both the poem and image), carved from stone.

  2. Magical moment. I can see you, hear you.

  3. thank you sweetheart :)
    beautiful poem. beautiful experience. ahhhh to me that's what it is all about

  4. Dojo, thank you for saying so. I just now have finished the computer entanglements of a networked home. The router gave me fits but it turned out that it was two checkboxes. One I just didn't know enough. The second, I had to get into advanced settings for what was even more basic to me.

    But I was complimented for even getting that far.

  5. Annie, it was magical. Having that cold predator stare on me while I was offering sacred space was a unique moment in my life.

  6. I am happy to spread the word about you, Jozien. You are amazing.

  7. Shivers. Good ones.

    and I am quiet.


  8. thanks for this heartfelt tribute and for the word choices.... they sing.

  9. Erin. Loving you.

    Harlequin, yes. I love predators when they are not killing. I don't care that I am not logical about it. Predators in general have breath-taking lines. Nonetheless the killing breaks my heart.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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