Where Eagles Soar and the story continues

You may recall a recent posting called “Where Eagles Soar”. In that posting I described a majestic sight of two Bald Eagles I had seen during a motorcycle ride near Wolf Lodge Bay on Lake Coeur D’Alene Idaho. Such a wonderful sight that I’ll not soon forget it. Since seeing it, I have, and continue to share that experience both in written word and storytelling. It was on one such occasion that Folklore pushed this experience to a new level, an angle I hadn’t considered before.

Folklore is an interesting word which includes two parts. “Folk” or regional people and “Lore” or stories. Folklore is the tales of regional or local people to an area. Now this Lore can be true, a fabrication, an embellishment, or a combination; it’s all fair game. I didn’t know at days start but I was to meet a regional person that very day.

I was performing the duties of a substitute teacher in a local high school. It is my practice to introduce myself so the students know who is sharing their class of the day and then as time allows I make effort to interact with the students. It is my experience that learning occurs in many ways by doing this and I often find myself learning from the students as well. On the day of this occurrence there was a young person in class that was among his peers yet he was separate in some way I hadn’t clearly understood. While speaking with him I determined he was new to the school and had recently moved to the community. Therefore it made sense that he was among his peers but a little different at the same time; the new kid in school. He told me that he had previously lived near Coeur D’Alene Idaho.

At this I found an opportunity to share my Bald Eagle observation yet once again. Since the days subject was a little dry and the students were struggling, I did this not only to the young man but the entire class. While I retold the experience the young man sat, listened intently to my tale, all the while he was smiling in a knowing way. I assumed he was thinking of home and being reminded of his time there.

When I finished the tale he asked me if I would like to know the rest of the story. His classmates had listened carefully to my tale and was now very interested and focused squarely on their new classmate from Idaho. I thought what a wonderful way for him to become better acquainted with his new class mates in a new community and share a bit of himself through story.

I gave him the floor and he soon began a tale of his own. He told of the fame of the Eagles I had seen. He said the Eagles do fly together just as I had described and they seem to always be there. He furthered his tale by baiting us with; “and there is a real good reason why”; then he continued.

As his Tale went, and I paraphrase, he described a few years earlier there had been a terrible accident on the lake. A young couple had gone out in a small boat to the open water fishing for the day. On this fateful day a sudden storm approached the area catching the couple unprepared and ill equipped. The boat they were using was capsized by high winds and the loving couple had perished in the cold water as a result. Then he described the lore as told that the couple each had a love of Bald Eagles in the area and each had at one time or another tattooed images the majestic bird on their bodies. Following the tragic loss of the couple the local Folk noticed the same birds I had seen. They hunt, fly, and are always together in the area. Legend holds according to the tale that the birds are the spirits of the ill-fated couple who have returned to continue fishing the cool waters of Wolf Lodge Bay.

At the conclusion of his tale, fellow classmates smiled each thinking and evaluating the tale he had told. I have found that this is what learning looks like on the face of a person with a curious mind. I saw in their eyes a new appreciation for their new peer. Now Folklore is a tremendously powerful form of storytelling. Many listen and reject the lore as local superstition, while others wholeheartedly believe and accept the tale as truth.

As for me the addition of Folklore to my own observations has made the experience all the better. In my mind’s eye now I can hear the pitch of a powerful motor change as I slowed, I feel the cool wind on my face as I looked upward, I smell the dense Pine forested landscape, and see the two Bald Eagles circling in a cloudless blue sky. One following the other not knowing which does lead nor which does follow. A representation of the doomed couple that day?

One thing is for certain they are beautiful and majestic birds, they were fishing, and they were together. Coincidence one might ask? Tell you what; I’ll leave you at this Tales ending to decide for yourself and I hope that you wear a curious smile as well.

Photo by Frank Cone, iStockphoto

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