A true gentleman

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sometimes It’s Good To Be Bad

Some years ago, on one of our hunting expeditions to the Beaver Pond, the infamous ‘secret spot’ whose location Dennis guarded closely (so don’t ask where it is), we found ourselves with a lot of time to kill between duck sightings.

We’d used up all of our conversation topics and Hunter, my Curly-Coated Retriever, had had his fill of being tended, so I decided to practice my duck calling. I had watched the Buck Gardner tapes, practiced calling, watched the tapes and practiced some more, but I still wasn’t very good. I thought I had a pretty good ‘feeding chuckle’ so I started my practice with that one. It was supposed to sound like happy ducks.

A few minutes into practice, Dennis directed my attention skyward to a pair of dark blips heading in our direction. I continued to chuckle. The blips were flying in tandem (chuckle, chuckle), in a slow, gentle rocking motion (chuckle, chuckle), side to side (chuckle, chuckle), as though swinging on the same invisible cord suspended from Heaven (chuckle, chuckle), and they were heading strait for us (chuckle, chuckle). As they neared, it became apparent that we were watching a pair of young, Bald Eagles making their way to our pond, possibly looking for the floundering duck they had heard there. I put my duck call down.

We sat silently, stone still as the pair flew to within 20 or so yards above us, directly over the center of our pond. Then with a breathtaking swiftness, the pair flew together, feet first and locked talons. And, while still gripping one another, began a maddening free fall towards the water. Talons still clutched and within inches of crashing into the water, the pair of Eagles pushed off of each other, flying in opposite directions, outward, mere inches above the water’s surface, then upwards in a graceful arc, rejoining one another at the top of the arc at their original point of contact. It was a Magnificent sight!

Then, side by side they lazily continued on their journey, gently ebbing and flowing on the wind until they were tiny specks on the horizon. Only then did we move, looking at each other, as though to make sure that we both saw what we thought we had seen. Hunter hadn't flinched the entire time, as though he knew the moment was unique.

The game warden later said that we had witnessed a rarely seen, mating ritual. It was the most special “hunting” moment I have ever had.

Now mind you, the Eagles may have come to our Beaver Pond on their own, with us just being in the right place at the right time. But I like to think that I "called" the Eagles to us with my special duck calling.

Yes, sometimes, it is good to be bad.