Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Of Presidents and Eagles

It's Saturday morning and I'm in bed, reading. DH is watching Headline News and drinking coffee. From the living room, I hear the query, "Do you want to go to Red Wing today?"

Now, Red Wing is a lovely town, on the Mississippi River about 45 minutes due north. But where did this idea come from? Turns out, Headline News was reporting that the Mississippi doesn't usually freeze over completely near Red Wing, which tends to draw a fairly sizable population of Bald Eagles, especially in very cold weather. One local reported having counted 150 of them in one day.

So, we were off, cameras in hand, appropriately layered for the sub-zero weather. After wandering aimlessly about town, we got smart and stopped at the public library. They're apparently used to tourists stopping in, though they were unaware of their recent national news status. We were given a map of the town and directions to the park where we were most likely to spot eagles, along with a few suggestions for lunch spots.

We did see about eight eagles, hanging around in trees near the river and annoying the local ravens. Not as many as we had hoped, but lovely and majestic nonetheless. It was incredible to see them gliding about, to hear their shrieks, and to watch the interplay. We didn't hang around long, since the wind chill was brutal. We're planning to go back soon, when it's a bit warmer.

Somehow, visiting the local Bald Eagle population seems appropriate on a weekend celebrating the nation's leaders. Presidents' Day was a day off for me, since I work for a government agency. DH had to work, poor dear. Another lovely day spent reading in the bright sunlight that infuses our living room, watching the birds ride the wind currents outside the window.

Other than a day off and the obligatory store sales, there wasn't much to commemorate the day. Or the men. A shame, that. No media events, no special television shows. No parades or proclamations. DSD wasn't even sure what holiday it was we were observing. And we wonder why our children are unfamiliar with out nation's history.

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