Making Friends with Impermanence

As the eaglets continue to thrive under the constant, diligent, finicky care of their parents, another very real thing has happened in our community. Our friend’s fiancée was crushed in a horse accident yesterday afternoon. Details are sketchy. Maybe someone saw it, or not. She suffered a broken shoulder, broken ribs, broken pelvis, shattered from the sound of it; she underwent surgery resulting in plates and pins this afternoon. And she broke her back low down. Heavily sedated, with a swelling brain, she was able to wiggle fingers and toes. So signs are good for her possible full recovery, but still, it’s dicey.

Uncertain. Uncertainty rears its ugly head yet again, reminder of impermanence. Yesterday Rick was doing his job, happily, cheerfully, joking with his co-workers, earnestly discussing MLS listings and realtors’ tactics in the break room, thinking about his wedding a month from tomorrow, and how lucky he was to have met this wonderful woman. Last night, he drove frantically the 85 miles from here to the City, to meet the flight for life, bringing in his very broken soon-to-be wife. You never know.

You never know what might happen from one moment to the next. Yet, some things you can see coming from a mile or a few years away. You see incremental steps of what comes next, when it gets there you recognize it, you’ve known it was coming, and you ride it out. Other things, they slam up on you like a tsunami, little or no warning, a few minutes, a moment. They can dash you to the ground with the sheer element of surprise.

Shouldn’t we all live in constant awareness of uncertainty, making friends with impermanence, surviving the element of surprise?

The eagles will. They will take what comes, with disappointment or pride, they’ll all survive, or some of them won’t. The more I watch our hidden webcam of their lives, their common inspiration, their subtle communication, their graceful, almost bumbling tender care of their young, the more I understand evolution. Instinct is graceful, however sharp or awkward its participants, and tender, and fierce, and very, very simple. They take it as it comes, adapt as well as they can to do what they must do, to replicate themselves. No second guesses.

This steady stream, a documentary wet-dream, we are live in their lives. They go on regardless of our imaginings, of our questioning their identities, of our attachments to the parents, to the eaglets growing so strong. I’ve seen them face near-tornado conditions, the nest swaying in the tree swaying in the wind, the mother’s feathers blown backwards across her back exposing her skin to the chill wind to protect the downy feathered young. Their lives are simple, and there’s equanimity. This evening, he fed her from his beak to hers a few choice morsels, between feeding the chicks. Tentative acceptance between fearsome hunters, the trust of a lifetime. Everything could change tomorrow.

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