Nonstop Rain, the Mighty Rogue River, and a Swimming Bald Eagle

Relentless rain transformed the park near my home into a lake.

I haven’t left my city all week and yet I feel as though I have been transported to another location, as I have watched the dry Sonoran Desert turn into an expansive wet landscape. A magical transformation, that has also been treacherous for many, with streets and homes flooding. The greater Phoenix area just saw three days of relentless rain. Quite a change for us considering we haven’t had significant rain in 270 days. Our 72-hour downpour that, in some places, delivered six months of our annual rainfall (average 4-8 inches), now feels like a distant memory with the sun drying streets, yards, and parks.

I enjoyed every drop of it. Maybe I can, because it is such a rare occurrence for us living in the Southwest. While out taking photos of our neighborhood park that was transformed into a lake, I closed my eyes and for a moment I imagined that I was in Oregon, walking through my daughter’s neighborhood and enjoying the cool breeze, an abundance of water, and the fresh crisp air that was enveloping me.

Feeling as though I had been transported to the Pacific Northwest, I was reminded of another magical misty moment that occurred when we were traveling seventy-five miles down the mighty Rogue River. My family and I spent the day on a speed boat tour. We saw some sights that can only be experienced in the wild and a few that we may never stumble upon again. Our knowledgeable captain and guide educated us on the history of the river and the wildlife in the area – life found in the river, on the land, and in the air. We saw osprey and bald eagle nests, deer swimming to the opposite shore, breathtaking channels, and whitewater rafters and kayakers.

Many wonders to behold in all directions, but two sightings captivated us, and they revealed the incredible natural cycle of life in the wild. The first sighting happened traveling downstream. Our captain noticed something odd floating near the shore. He slowed the jets and moved closer to the bobbing object. Closeness revealed both the size and identity of the object. The object was a deceased bald eagle that was floating with its fierce face pointing down and its massive wings stretched and lifeless. A sad moan rippled through the passengers as each realized what our captain had found. I did not take pictures. My response was to mourn, not take pictures of the loss of this magnificent creature. We waited by the shore while our captain radioed his findings to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife officials. Following protocol, the feathered creature would be examined to determine the cause of death, which hopefully did not involve intentional harm. Eventually we left the eagle, and continued downriver, bringing some sadness with us, and an appreciation for the fragile existence of those living in the wild.

Our second memorable sighting happened on our return voyage, travelling upstream. Once again, our observant captain noticed something floating in the water, and once again he slowed his jets to not frighten what lay in the distance. The object was another bald eagle, except this eagle was fully alive. It was swimming! Every passenger jumped up and ran to the edge of the boat to catch a glimpse of the swimming eagle. We watched in awe as the animal looked back at us and then carried on with its business, which was to bring its prey out of the water. The scene unfolded quickly, but I managed to capture some video that you can view below (scroll to bottom of blog for four videos). The captain told us that the bird would swim to the shore, eat, and then after drying off its wings, which might take some time, fly away. The captain was right on all accounts, except for the, taking some time to dry off its wings, comment. The eagle flew off quickly, leaving us unprepared to capture the moment, but it was glorious all the same, because the memory of that moment is etched in my mind.  

Bald eagle drying its wings. Sadly a plastic cup sits behind.

Balcony View Above the Rogue River

Flowing water below, streaming cars above.

Permeable liquid and solid steel,

both flowing fast and changing with each glance.

One shares union with divinity and carries secrets from the past.

The other was forged with modern hands and unlike the timeless river, will not last.

Diamond jewels appear along the crest, then twinkle and vanish.

Ancient rocks below are not moving, but changing all the same.

A verdant duck glides close to the water’s surface,

its evolved eyes searching and skimming.

A butterfly descends in an effortless tumble, guided by the invisible wind.

The arms of trees reach for each other, waving to the giver-of-life below.

The trees speak in a language that only the quiet among us can truly know.

The cool breeze carries seeds, leaves, and stories from the ages.

A moment suspended above The Mighty Rogue River,

offers a glimpse into the unceasing flow of creation.

Thank you to the life-giver and soul-nourisher – water. Thank you for giving us life and for enriching our lives.

I hope that my Saturday posts bring you a spark of inspiration at the end of your week and the beginning of your weekend, or whenever you choose to read my words. As I write this post, late Friday afternoon, I am so grateful to do so. I am wrapping up a week of annoying and frustrating life stuff, nothing serious, but the type of scenarios that make you want to pull your hair out, scream, punch, or all of the above. I am grateful that the week’s frustrations were resolved yesterday evening and now, what a blessing it is to take a moment and focus on that which inspires me, lifts me up, and brings me joy. It is my desire that some, or all of that extends to you.  

Photo taken at Kartchner Caverns State Park 20-year anniversary (11/16)

If you are reading my words early Saturday morning (MST), I will be beating the sunrise and climbing Sunrise Mountain while working as a trail host at the Copper Hills “4 Peak Challenge” Hike (#CH4Peak). Please send me and the hikers and trail runners good vibes as we make our way up the mountain.

If you are receiving my blog through email, thank you for taking the time to follow my blog. For optimum viewing, consider going directly to the web @ https://myinspiredlife.org/blog-feed/ for each post. However you choose to look at my posts and pictures, thank you! Have an inspired weekend! Michele

Hawaii interview update: The inspiring family of five who recently moved to Hawaii are very busy getting settled and, well, being a family of five. I hope to complete their interview and story soon.

© 2019 Michele Lee Sefton. All Rights Reserved.

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