The eaglets test their wings, and I finish The Overstory
by Rob Tiller
I went up to Shelley Lake last Saturday morning hoping to see the two bald eagle chicks and take some photos. I put my long lens (a Sigma 150-600 mm zoom) on a tripod, and watched the nest for a couple of hours.
It wasn’t boring! There were quiet periods, but I found them peaceful. The eaglets were dark, and from about 70 yards away, I couldn’t see a lot of detail. It wasn’t until the next day when I processed the images with Lightroom and other tools that I understood what they were up to: waiting for their mama, flapping their wings and getting ready to fly, and eating.
The eaglets looked to be about three-quarters as big as the adults. Each spent some time standing on the edge of the nest, probably thinking about taking off. But when mama eagle returned from the hunt with food, they opened their beaks wide to be fed like little baby birds.
I was looking at the nest a little differently this week, giving more consideration to the pine tree that held it. I had just finished The Overstory, a novel by Richard Powers, which has at its center the complex lives of trees.
Powers has a lot of human characters, who gradually converge, and he draws on recent scientific discoveries about trees’ social behavior and responses to their environments. His characters struggle to come to grips with the slow motion disaster that humans are wreaking on the planet. It’s a big novel in every sense, with a lot of beauty and urgency.