By Priscilla Adeboye
…I woke up. I was alone. I tried to sit up, and then I realised I still had some dregs of the jetlag I had contracted earlier from flying 36 hours to this place. And even though my ears were still buzzing, I heard the chirping of birds; there was a lure to it, as if they were calling my name.
So I got up and looked out of the window; the warm rays of the setting sun kissed my face. Nature, resplendent in its beauty. Selecting the room on the fifth floor at a hotel with no elevators, turned out to be a good idea after all. This view was a dream.
I stepped out to the balcony and then I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery: the skies, the sun, mountains, trees, birds, lakes, the natural landscape – folds, twist, bends, curves, and colours. My heart expanded in my chest at the sight of this breath-taking slice of heaven on earth.
That was when I saw her.
As I was still trying to catch my breath, I saw her.
With astonishing speed and manoeuvrability, she swooped by, grabbed what looked like a rabbit from afar and off she flew, without even landing.
I was hypnotised, mesmerised, fascinated, awe-struck. Whaaaaaaaatttt? Diving from such great heights, gliding through the air with so much grace and panache, ‘Swaguuu drippin’, if you like.
The Eagle. When you say that name, put some respeck’ on it. Clocked to fly at close to 200 miles per hour. Impressive both in size and fearsome beauty. Most popular animal symbol on flags, coins, seals, flags, and standards since ancient times. Admired the world over as a living symbol of power, freedom, bravery, courage, honour, pride, determination, graceand transcendence. Capable of floating, aka swimming and also ‘walking’.
After what I saw that evening, I had to find out more about this bird of prey. This. This. This eagle of a bird:
· Eyes – Eagles’ eyes are extremely powerful, having up to 3.6 times human acuity, which enables them to spot a potential prey or enemy from a very long distance. Their eyes have a million light-sensitive cells per square mm of retina, five times more than a human’s 200,000. While humans see just three basic colours, eagles see five. These adaptations give eagles extremely keen eyesight and enable them to spot even well-camouflaged potential prey from a very long distance. Also, eagles have two sets of eyes. The first set is their natural eye which they have when they are in aresting mode. However, when they start to take flight on strong wind thermals, they have a second eye that comes in on them. This second eye enables them to fly on these strong winds without damaging their original eye. You have been blessed with the gift of physical sight but how acute is your mind? Remember ‘the eyes are useless when the mind is blind’. A big focused vision will yield big positive results. Interesting to note however, is that there are some things your physical eyes or mind would not see, you need a spiritual eye which only the Holy Spirit enables. #selah
· Fearlessness – the eagle will never surrender to the size of its prey. Eagles have been known to kill animals up to 5 times their size. It is always ‘fight to win’ with the eagle. It has also been observed that most birds of prey look back over their shoulders before striking prey (or shortly thereafter). All hawks seem to have this habit, from the smallest kestrel to the largest Ferruginous – but not the Eagles. No retreat, no surrender. Face problems head-on.
· Play/Chillax – the eagle engages in some aerial displays, death-defying dives and swoops just for fun. After all, all work and no play… Also, at a certain age, the physical body condition of the eagle deteriorates fast making it difficult for her to fly or even survive. But even at that, she never gives up living. Instead, she retreats to a mountaintop and over a period and goes through a metamorphosis which produces a re-growth of the aged body parts, allowing the eagle to live for up to another 30 – 40 years.
· Friendship – Eagles can fly up to an altitude of 10,000 feet, I have flown in an aircraft before that didn’t even get that high. At 10, 000 feet, the only other bird you’ll find is an eagle. The eagle doesn’t play around with suckers. Dr. Myles Munroe once said ‘eagles don’t mingle with pigeons. Pigeons scavenge on the ground and grumble and complain all day long. Eagles fly and make less noise, alwayswaiting for opportunities to strike their next prey or glide with the current of the storm’. No time to waste time. There is a saying that goes: “the people you hang around with and the books you read eventually determine the person you become.”
· Tenacity – when the storm comes, other birds fly away to safety. Not the eagle, she spreads her mighty wings and rides on the wings of the wind to soar to greater heights. She uses the pressure of the storm to glide higher without having to use her own energy. She takes advantage of the very storm that would otherwise have destroyed her.
· Nurturing – though known for their strength, pride and brutality, what is most astonishing about these birds of prey is their ability to nurture. 3 months before she starts to lay eggs, an eagle builds a cosy home for her young. Research has shown that no member of the bird family is more gentle and attentive to its young than the eagle. And when she sees that the time has come to teach her young to fly, she does a great job in nudging it to the greatness the Eagle dynasty is famous for.
· Lifestyle – eagles live well. They eat well. They don’t feed on dead food. They are ranked at the top of the food chain as apex predators in the avian world. I like to think they sleep well too. They normally build their nests,at a vantage point high in a tree or on high cliffs in a permanent feeding territory. These nests are ‘renovated’ year after year and can become an enormous edifice, measuring up to 6-8 feet wide, 2 feet high and weighing well over 1,000 pounds.
· Dependence – eagles are superlative soarers, powerful fliers—skilfully gliding over long distances. However, eagles would literally die if they expend too much energy flapping their strong big wings during flight. Yes, they are skilled birds, very talented and strong, but they are also smart enough to patiently wait for a big gust of wind to rise up from the atmosphere; theysoar on the wind currents without having to flap their wings. They do this in order to conserve energy. Sometimes, eagles remain perched for days before they can catch a good, strong, wind thermal. My Bible says: ‘“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord’. (Zechariah 4:6). We are able to achieve exponentially more with God’s help than we can on our own.
· Loyalty – Eagles ‘mate for life’. Once eagles mate with their partners, they stay true and loyal to that other eagle for life. In the same way, God expects us to stay true, loyal, and faithful to our spouses to the day we die.
Ps: there is a prominent genus in the eagle family named Aquila, by the way
I found an awesome bird of prey and it changed my life. Dear Himalayas, I will be back.
NB: If you’d love to visit Nepal with me next year, please shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress,
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