Neil Young performs Phil Ochs' "Changes" at the Chicago Theater
Today I've been thinking a lot about changes. My friends and I have been going through some major life shifts. Change is something to which we can all relate--births, deaths, jobs, relationships, etc--though some people welcome and deal with these permutations more effectively than others.
That idea being set forth, let me begin with a story: a block from my house is an aerie--an eagle's nest. It's been there for about 7 years now, and each year, two or three eaglets are born and raised in it. This year, there's a different female who has helped hatch and raise the brood--the female in previous years had a pure white tail, and this one still has some brown in her tail feathers. Papa Eagle has a new, younger mate! It's a romantic myth that eagles mate for life--they tend to, because they're territorial and return to the same nesting area year after year. Since I live by the river, there are several aeries in the area, which means several potential mates.
Yesterday evening, the female eagle was teaching the two eaglets how to call--she would call, then the eaglets would mimic her in fledgling voices. It sounded to me like an attention call, a "hey, come here" that I've heard from the male or female when one of them is sitting in the nest and calling the other back. Since these eaglets seem to be a week or two from flight, it seems appropriate that an attention call is one of the first calls they're taught.
Eagle's Attention Call
This is not my footage, but it's a similar call to
what I heard the mother eagle teaching her eaglets
Over the past seven years, I've taken lots of pictures of the eagles, and the image below is one of my favorites.
The two neighborhood eagles in the Talking Tree near my house.
Different American Indian tribes and bands have different teachings, but there are some commonalities. One that I've noticed is that since Eagle flies the highest of all the birds, it is closest to the Creator. I'm not sure if that's the influence of Christian religion on traditional American Indian religion; it could also be that the sky is associated with the Creator since the sun and the moon and stars are a part of it. Maybe it's a combination of both ways of thinking. In any case, from his/her high vantage point, Eagle can see the past, present, and future and the flow of change. Eagle alerts us to these changes so we can respond in a good way.
Since Eagle in associated with the connection between the Great Mystery and Earth and can see the flow of human events, s/he is associated with courage and wisdom. Eagle's wisdom gives us courage to understand when a change will occur or needs to be made. In turn, this knowledge helps us muster up the courage to face or execute the change. This is a beautiful idea to me, as many of my friends and family are going through changes. I think about them a lot and wonder how I can best support and help them; maybe they think of me, too, and wonder the same thing. As I go through these shifts, helping my friends and family also helps me; I learn by assisting others. As I gain understanding, I can pass these teachings on to others to help them. I suppose my love of learning and appreciation of reciprocity would be a large part of why I'm a teacher.
Heavy stuff, that.
For me--and perhaps you--it boils down to this: the reciprocal nature of teaching and learning is a testament to our interconnectedness. You need me, and I need you. We need to be kind to and look out for each other. Please do so.
Thank you, and have a good day.