THE GOLDEN EAGLE
A man found an eagle’s egg and put it in the nest of a backyard hen.
The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them.
All his life the eagle did what the backyard chickens did,
thinking he was a backyard chicken.
He scratched the earth for worms and insects.
He clucked and cackled.
And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air like the chickens.
After all, that is how a chicken is supposed to fly, isn’t it?
Years passed and the eagle grew very old.
One day he saw a magnificent bird far above him in the cloudless sky.
It floated in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents,
with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings.
The old eagle looked up in awe. “Who’s that?” he said to his neighbor.
”That’s the eagle, the king of the birds,“ said his neighbor.
“But don’t give it another thought. You and I are different from him.”
So the eagle never gave it another thought.
He died thinking he was a backyard chicken.
Anthony de Mello, The Song of the Bird.
THE EAGLE AND THE WOLF
There is a great battle that rages inside me.
One side is the soaring eagle.
Everything the eagle stands for is good and true and beautiful,
and it soars above the clouds.
Even though it dips down into the valleys,
it lays its eggs on the mountain tops.
The other side of me is the howling wolf.
And that raging, howling wolf represents the worst that’s in me.
He eats upon my downfalls and justifies himself by his presence in the pack.
Who wins this great battle?
The one I feed.
I have heard that the Eagle is the only bird that will fly into a storm.
I like relating to the Eagle because I know the quicker I face my pain,
the faster I will pass through the stormy time.
On the other side of the storm I always find a beautiful rainbow.
In this rainbow the colours show me the strength and courage
which I had not known I possessed.
This strength and courage gives me hope to face whatever lies ahead.
Grant me the spirit of the Eagle so that I can continue to soar and
become the person you created me to be.
Each time I face my pain I receive the gift of strength and courage!
Sarvey Wildlife Center is in Arlington Washington, home for this eagle. Freedom and I have been together 10 years this summer. She came in as a baby in 1998 with two broken wings. Her left wing doesn’t open all the way even after surgery; her wing was broken in 4 places. She’s my baby.
When Freedom came in she could not stand. Both wings were broken; her left wing in four places. She was emaciated and covered in lice. We made the decision to give her a chance at life, so I took her to the vet’s office. From then on, I was always around her.
We had her in a huge dog carrier with the top off, and it was loaded up with shredded newspaper for her to lay in. I used to sit and talk to her, urging her to live, to fight; and she would lay there looking at me with those big brown eyes. We also had to tube feed her for weeks. This went on for four to six weeks, and by then she still couldn’t stand.
It got to the point where the decision was made to euthanize her if she couldn’t stand in a week. You know you don’t want to cross that line between torture and rehab, and it looked like death was winning. She was going to be put down that Friday, and I was supposed to come in on that Thursday afternoon. I didn’t want to go to the center that Thursday because I couldn’t bear the thought of her being euthanized; but I went anyway. When I walked in everyone was grinning from ear to ear. I went immediately back to her dowl cage; and there she was, standing on her own, a big beautiful eagle. She was ready to live. I was just about in tears by then and that was a very good day.
We knew she could never fly, so the director asked me to glove train her. I got her used to the glove, and then to jesses, and we started doing educational programs for schools in western Washington. We wound up in the newspapers, radio (believe it or not) and some TV. Miracle Pets even did a show about us.
In the spring of 2000, I was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma. I had stage 3, which is not good (one major organ plus everywhere), so I wound up doing 8 months of chemo. Lost the hair – the whole bit and I missed a lot of work. When I felt good enough, I would go to Sarvey and take Freedom out for walks. Freedom would also come to me in my dreams and helped me fight the cancer. This happened time & time again.
Fast forward to November 2000, the day after Thanksgiving. I went in for my last checkup. I was told that if the cancer was not all gone after 8 rounds of chemo, then my last option was a stem cell transplant. Anyway, they did the tests; and I had to come back Monday for the results. I went in Monday and I was told that all the cancer was gone. Yahoo!
So the first thing I did was get up to Sarvey and take the big girl out for a walk. It was misty and cold. I went to her flight, jessed her up, and we went out front to the top of the hill. I hadn’t said a word to Freedom, but somehow she knew. She looked at me and wrapped both her wings around me to where I could feel them pressing in on my back – I was engulfed in eagle wings – and she touched my nose with her beak and stared into my eyes. We just stood there like that for I don’t know how long. That was a magical moment. We have been soul mates ever since she came in. This is a very special bird.
On a side note, I have had people who were sick come up to us when we are out, and Freedom has some kind of hold on them. I once had a guy who was terminal come up to us and I let him hold her. His knees just about buckled and he swore he could feel her power coarse through his body. I have so many stories like that. I never forget the honor I have of being so close to such a magnificent spirit as Freedom’s.
Hope you enjoy this.
Jeff Guidry and Freedom are at
Sarvey Wildlife Center