Timing is Everything


Timing is everything.

That seems to be the theme for this week—and last week as well.

When I left work on Friday, I was later than usual. Being late put me behind some cars on 97 that were under the speed limit. By a ton.

Instead of passing them, I turned the music up and followed behind them until I got to Cochecton. I went through the underpass, meeting a truck as I did. If you've ever driven through there, you know as well as I do, that you stop before you get to it, look twice, and then head through. A one-lane, blind-spot underpass isn't the best thing to drive through twice a day, but I usually don't have any problems. I guess it was my timing that was off... or it was the timing of the guy driving the truck.

Mildly annoyed by the truck's driver, I waited for him to back up some and I continued through and up Cochecton Road. If I hadn't rolled my eyes at his actions, I wouldn't have seen the flash of white on black in the sky above me. I wouldn't have watched as the black became brown as it got closer to the ground.

I turned the music down, put the window down and continued my drive, much slower than I was going before. I reached into the passenger seat with a smile on my face as I realized just what had come out of the sky. I snapped two pictures in quick succession and frowned as I saw it had focused on the guard rail instead of the pair of bald eagles who were having their venison dinner by the road.

I moved the car ahead, hoping my timing was good, and the eagles wouldn't mind me encroaching on their date. They gave me a funny look, remniscent of Statler and Waldorf sitting and laughing. An odd thought, sure, but that's exactly how my brain works. Maybe it was because of the song I was just listening to?

“Time is an illusion, timing is an art.” 
― Stefan Emunds

As I got closer, I moved the car to the middle of the road and continued to snap photos. Thankfully, the road is long, straight and anyone who might be coming would have plenty of time to see that I was basically parked.

The one eagle flew off to finish (what I think was) a chunk of leg without me watching. Self-conscious eater I suppose. The other eagle seemed to be as interested in me as I was it. It popped itself up and onto the guardrail and watched as I got closer. Parade speed... stealth mode—however you want to refer to it—they both seemed faster than how I was moving up on this eagle. I kept clicking the camera and checking my mirrors to make sure I wasn't being the slow driver for someone else.

Bill Streeter and Julia

Though honestly, if I was, I wouldn't have cared. It was a freaking bald eagle six feet away from me! I haven't been this close to a raptor in years. The last time I was able to get so close was when I paid a visit to the Delaware Valley Raptor Center for an issue of Upper Delaware Magazine. I got to spend a day with Bill Streeter and visit Julia the golden eagle (among many other birds). If you've never been to one of their events, you really should.

I'm getting slightly off-topic here.

Anyhow, I wasn't going to let this opportunity pass me by. The longer I sat there staring at this eagle with it staring at me, the more I realized my timing couldn't have been more perfect.

It cocked its head to the side and dipped its beak. I said, "Thank you." I have no idea why... odds are this particular eagle didn't know a lick of English. It just felt like the right thing to do. With that, it took a leap back off the guardrail and landed next to the carcass again. I snapped a picture of it there as well before it grabbed a piece of meat and flew off deeper into the field to finish its meal with the other eagle.

I turned the camera off and set it back in the passenger seat before I smiled and drove off. I got home later than usual, but I'd say my timing was just right.


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