No zoom lens used here! The photographer was this close!
I received an email from a friend today with an amazing story and photos. In January of this year, 2013, the weather stayed so cold in Hinckley, Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie and Rocky River, that the bald eagles were cruising over houses in hopes of a quick meal. They could not access fish that were at the bottom of the river and had gathered together.
Some kind souls decided to feed the eagles so they would survive the cold spell. They gathered fish and started feeding the group of eagles huddled on the shore.
The photos show what happened as taken by a teacher in front of his home.
A beautiful morning on the lake in January 2013 before the feeding begins. Notice the bald eagles sitting by the frozen water.
Once the fish were thrown, the eagles did not seem to fear the good Samaritans and word spreads fast! (I wonder how they do that?)
Eagles vying for the fish. January 2013.
So this can be taken at face value as a heart warming story where humans help a species that is starting to make gains back from its endangered status. However, I am intrigued by the possibilities of some messages from this powerful animal totem, the bald eagle. An eagle is a sign of great significance. As Denise Linn says in her book The Secret Language of Signs the eagle is a symbol of the Creator to native peoples around the world. It connects us to the Great Spirit above–think of the eagle flying up from the earth and soaring into the sky. It also can dive down deep into the water or symbolically into the inner self.
In this dramatic situation, we have not one bald eagle but a large group of them. We have not one messenger, but a chorus seeking to get our attention. They may be signalling a time of power and strength, a turning point for our relationship to ourselves and our mother earth. They are coming to us for help to feed them–to help them and ourselves get the nourishment we need to get back into the skies where we can soar in freedom and see life from new heights in all directions. We may be frozen like the river and lake–water symbolizes our emotions. We are out of touch with our deep emotional life and have unhealed wounds from our past or childhood that it is now time to address. It is the unhealed parts of ourselves that keep us living in fear. When in the fear state, we are more likely to strike out at ourselves or others. We are more likely to see conspiracies and enemies and feel that the world is an unsafe place. We need to feed ourselves love, as we work to melt away the barriers that keep us from exploring our inner life to feel it, heal it, and find love, peace and security.
On another level, the bald eagle is a symbol for the United States:
What could be the message of the eagles for the United States? Could it be to let go of the arrows and extend the olive branch? Is it time to pursue the freedom of the eagle through programs that feed people rather than programs that kill people?
These are the messages that have popped into my mind when seeing this story. I am curious what other people may see. The bald eagle is a powerful totem that showed up in powerful numbers but in a situation where it needed the help of people. What are your thoughts?
Update: Upon further research, I discovered the email story I received was a mixture of truth and fiction. You can see the Snopes.com report here. The photos were actually taken in Homer, Alaska where a woman controversially feeds eagles.
Here you can read “Symbol of Success: America’s Bald Eagle and the Endangered Species Act” on The National Wildlife Association website.