Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Where Eagles Fly
Dan’s love-for-a-lifetime Andrea had arranged with two boat captains to pick us up from the dock at her home on Bainbridge Island. My sister, my brother and his wife, myself and a few of Dan’s lifelong friends climbed aboard the boats and headed out onto the water. It was a gorgeous evening with still warm sun and calm waters.
Just as I heard the captains saying they’d found a spot, I saw a bald eagle leave his perch atop a tall pine on the island and fly across the water in front of the boats. We were all stunned. I’ve never seen a bald eagle in the wild before. It was late evening; the bird should have been roosting. But it simply took what seemed to be one more flight for the day, winging its way across the sky, then returning to the same tree.
By then the captains had powered down their boats and tied up together. We drank a toast to Dan—Irish whiskey, of course—then sang a long sad rendition of “Danny Boy.” Very few words were spoken as his ashes were given over to the sea and flowers were cast upon the spot. Quietly we watched them drift atop gentle swells.
The captains powered up the boats, and as we began to move slowly away, the same eagle left his perch one last time, flying across the water once more, this time behind us, as if to bid us farewell.
Rest in peace where you so loved to be, wild boy… beloved brother…. Thanks for reminding us that you have gone where eagles fly.