I work in the historic downtown warehouse district, and my building is only four short blocks from the Mississippi River. The city has put effort into developing the river in this part of town, so there's a lovely pedestrian walkway all along the water, places to sit, and an old railway bridge across the water that is now a popular path for joggers, pedestrians, and the tourist trolley that runs through the city in the spring and summer.
One day this week, wanting to clear my head, I went to the river at my lunch break. I like walking across the railway bridge for its view of the lock and dam, for the little garden at the far end, and for the ducks and geese that congregate in the warm waters near the power plant along the river's banks. As I was meditating on the things that were bothering me, I looked casually toward one of the small streams that feeds the river by the power plant and locked eyes with an eagle perched in the tree branches. We stared at each other, and I slowly approached his side of the bridge for a closer look. He kept me in his sight as I moved toward him, studying his markings and colors to make sure it was an eagle. And, indeed, when I got home that evening and checked my Peterson field guide, it was indisputable. I'd seen an eagle. A bald eagle.
Turns out the Mississippi River is a major flyway for the birds, who, just like the more prosaic ducks and geese, are attracted to the warm waters near the power plant. The water there is fairly shallow, the fishing is good, and there's even a little sandbar that peaks above the surface--a sort of bird beach. As I continued on my way, I realized I felt happy and lighter in spirit. So next time I feel the weight of human folly, I'm heading back to that spot along the river for the Raptor Cure!