While out and about this past weekend, I was blessed to see a lovely pair of Bald Eagles on the shoulder of the road. What they were doing wasn’t quite as lovely yet natural as one of them sat on a poor vehicle-struck deer that had been killed in recent hours. Still it was a thrill to see them and it reminded me of how fortunate I was to see them at all. It was not that long ago that they were on the endangered list along with many other birds of prey, including the then almost extinct Peregrine Falcon.
In my youth, even though I was raised in the woods on a flourishing lake, I had not seen Bald Eagle until I was around twenty year old. (I was 42 years old before I saw my first wild Peregrine, an equal thrill). The reason we all can enjoy the flight of Eagle and the blur of Peregrine in ‘stoop’ (an airborne dive at prey) is in large part due to Rachel Carson. Ms. Carson wrote Silent Spring in 1962, a book now considered to be a classic among scientists and environmentalists alike for its bringing awareness to the public on the dangers of a pesticide known as DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane). Her research helped begin a grassroots movement that led to the creation of the EPA or Environmental Protection Agency.
There were the usual obstacles. Though the scientific community reviewed her book and concluded in further research as being fact-based, very credible and a bit concerning, it was not readily accepted by the economic communities. Many considered her claims bogus, over-reactive and inconclusive- agreeing in mass she was simply making noise about something that was not a real concern with consequences that would not happen. She endured lawsuits, personal threats and was even labeled a communist. But still she told her story and stood by it in the face of much ridicule, both professional and personal. And it is because she stood her ground that I am blessed to see Eagle sitting by the side of the road.
Mother Earth is strong and unfailing, but her balance is fragile. History has taught us it is this balance we must respect and nurture in order to allow her to take care of us.