New Years Day in Northwest Nevada. The purple Sierras were sprinkled with fine powdered snow. The air was crisp, clean and fragrant with pines. Fred and I, we were jogging down one of our favorite trails and... Oh! You need to know. Fred is not a man or a jogging partner... Fred is my horse!
21 years old and with all the glee of a kid at Christmas, I had on my hat, my old leather boots, and in wild abandon, Fred and I are hightailing it into the hills. Fred’s white mane streaming away!
After travelling higher and higher, through miles of rugged terrain, we’d rest at our favorite place, a rough outcrop of rock shadowed by perfumed Ponderosa pines.
I always trusted my horse so when he began snorting and prancing, I knew…trouble was a-comin'. I put my face next to his fuzzy one to see if it might be a herd of deer or a lone coyote. Sure enough, a several hundred yards away, I saw a dark object, about three feet tall, swaying back and forth. Back and forth.
Imagine how the hair on my neck began to prickle! Nonetheless, I decided to investigate. As I crept forward, I could not believe my eyes. I was face to face with a…. GOLDEN EAGLE! ….. A MAGNIFICENT GOLDEN EAGLE! What in the world was it doing on the ground?
As I steadily approached the answer unfolded. Surrounding the eagle was a mass of dead animals. Dead rabbits, dead birds. The carnage was bait. Bait for coyotes. Who would have guessed - instead of capturing a coyote in that rusty old trap - now stood a National Treasure.
Caught by one leg, the terrified eagle’s eyes blazed with sheer-fire wildness. The curved beak, sharp as a scimitar, hung open as the eagle hissed menacingly. The princely fan of feathers, folded into iridescent crimson, brown, and gold – a sight rarely seen, this close.
Clearly, the eagle’s life was at stake. I knelt down to begin the rescue. Just as I reached out my hand… the eagle slashed it with a free talon. Despite this terrible wounding, I persisted. Sensing my love and compassion, somehow knowing I was there to help, the eagle fell backward, wings outstretched, raising its leg for release.
I’d never seen a coyote trap before. I had no idea how it worked. How I wrestled, tugged and pulled! Tears, blood, and sweat stung my face. My frustration mounted. Increasing shadows bespoke of a day passing. All alone in the mountains and this eagle's only hope!
After an eternity of struggling, realizing the impossibility of opening the trap alone, and now at the very depth of despair, I raised my eyes to those splendid snow-covered hills. And I remembered… I remembered the snowy mountains painted on my mother’s Christmas cards. Inscribed inside were the lines of that well-known Psalm you may know which begins with…
I will lift mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth. Behold, He who keeps …you and YOU THIS WILD ONE… shall neither slumber nor sleep..."
Mysterious how things work together for good because, coincidentally ladies and gentlemen, I loved the lines so much I memorized that Psalm the night before.
Freshly recalling these words again filled me with a clear, inner peace. This sensation rolled through me, right out my hands. Quite of their own accord, my fingers felt their way to either side of the trap where I discovered two levers not noticed before. Pressing DOWN on these, the trap miraculously creeeeaked open. With a little more twisting and turning, the eagle was set free.
As the eagle righted, our eyes connected in a way unforgettable. Great golden saucers into my sky blue ones. Past the flesh and the feathers, our Golden Spirits joined. In that sweet, single moment, we were One. Then the golden wings spread. The body tensed, tilted forward, and that eagle soared off the mountain!
“Fly! Fly! Keep Flying! Don’t ever come back! Fly! Fly!” Crying and dirty on that bloodstained scene, I waived the Great Golden Creature farewell.
A Great Golden Spirit resides within us, longing for unbridled flight. At times, we reject our own brilliance, choosing to fit in rather than shine forth. Our coyote trap mind baits us with fear and forgetfulness. Forgetful of Who we REALLY ARE, we are lured off course by easy gain and false prey. Fearful thinking traps us. We feel trapped in our jobs. Trapped in our relationships. Trapped in situations convinced of their hopelessness.
Go to your Golden Eagle Hearts, not your minds. Find deep relief within as you summon your personal Golden Spirit, the Guardian inside. Opportunities abound for your valor. Let loose the Eagle within you. Fly high with a new perspective. When you are lost or uncertain – TRUST! Your Miracle is on its way.
As we journey up the mountain of life, we shall meet fellow “eagles” trapped by negative thinking. Trapped by disillusionment and despair. Trapped by resentment and fear - who may slash at us as my eagle did, when we reach out our hands to help.
Fearlessly, extend your hands and your hearts. Encourage our fellow travelers in need. Look into their eyes and remind them of the Noble Guardian within. No matter the color, no matter the shape, the bright Golden Spirit we rescue is, in truth, our own.