I love this place.
Why? The only answer is why not. All you have to do is turn on your TV news, pick up the newspaper, or click on your smart device. In other areas, you will find modern madness. Here, not so much.
For instance, an undersea volcano that erupted in the South Pacific prompted officials to post coastal tsunami warnings from Alaska to San Diego. In Washington, D.C., the Justice Department charged some of the Jan. 6 rioters with seditious conspiracy alleging they were part of a conspiracy to block the transfer of presidential power.
The Russians seem poised to invade Ukraine as V. Putin seeks to prevent them from aligning with the Western powers. And the goofy North Korean princeling is sending new rockets into the heavens as he hinted he might send one our way.
And in our town, we are all agog with the bird. Now I am not referring to the historic one-finger salute indicating universal derision. I am, of course, referring to the eagle. It seems, for no one knows for sure, why, a huge bird, a Steller's Sea-Eagle, decided to visit our neighborhood. It is native to Russia, but, as it is a bird, it is unlikely to be a follower of V. Putin and his band of thieving oligarchs.
Authorities, like the Boothbay Register/Wiscasset Newspaper’s bird expert, Jeff Wells, say it sometimes strays from home. But, despite valiant efforts by the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce, it has never visited us, until now.
We have readers worried about its politics, so I attempted to check it out. However, it seems unlikely to be a Communist as it is alone with no yelling band of fellow travelers bent on disrupting the social order. It is a big bird, can weigh 20 pounds with an eight-foot wingspan. Its talons and beak would rival the mythical Jabberwock in Alice’s "Through the Looking Glass."
You remember the Jabberwock. Lewis Carroll described him as possessing “jaws that bite and claws that catch.” He hangs out with the "Jubjub Bird” and his sidekick the “Frumious Bandarsnatch,” but that is another story.
This big eagle not only ruffled the feathers of hundreds of faithful birders from away. His presence delighted local occasional birders, too. For the last 10 years, my elderly early morning walking gang has stumbled along the paths of the Penny Lake Preserve. We rarely encounter birders. But last week, we talked to a pair of New Yorkers who drove up just to gaze at the eagle. No, sorry, we told them. We did not see it at Penny Lake.
If you are interested, Maine Audubon Society put up a web post giving a day-by-day account of reported eagle sightings. It has visited Spruce Point Inn, Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club, Maine State Aquarium, Sprucewold, Linekin Bay, and the pond near Sarah Foulger’s house.
Betty Repa was delighted to get a photo of it on her smartphone. Capt. Rusty Court got in on the chase, too. “I drove around until I got to the yacht club. The parking lot was full. There were people with tripods holding long telephoto lenses. One guy put my phone up to his telephoto lens and took a photo for me. One guy said he drove over from Buffalo,” said Capt. Rusty.
Despite frigid temperatures, howling winds and gray days, we have seen groups of folks prowling Ocean Point and standing outside near the Southport Bridge. Did I mention the eagle made the national news feeds? We live in an era when we are hammered by inflation (although I note the price of gasoline has dropped 15 cents) and Mr. COVID is trying to infect us all.
Our political friends tell us the Republicans don’t talk to the Democrats, and lots of them won’t even talk to other Republicans. It is the same for the Democrats with Progressives shunning moderates and vice versa.
But here in our town, we have folks braving weather that would keep Sgt. Preston inside, just to spot a big Russian bird. Do I love this place? Of course, I do.
On a personal note, I want to give a pat on the back to Andrew Robertson, a smiling pharmacist who quarterbacks Nathan’s Pharmacy in the small mall. Last weekend, when the arctic winds howled, he got in his car and visited the homes of some of his customers who were unable to go outside to get vaccinated. In the big cities, folks wait in line for hours to get a shot. Here in our neighborhood, our local independent druggist left his warm store to administer a vaccine that should help his customers avoid the hospital emergency department.
Thanks, Andrew. Much appreciated.