Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver 2019

Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver 2019


In front of them, a man holds an eagle in his thick gloved hand.

The eyes of the bird stare unblinking out into the audience of people. She remains still, unflinching, waiting for the command that will send her into the air only returning for the food the man holds out for her. She becomes restless. Her talons curl and hook over the handler’s hand. She turns her head, feathers smooth and white over her head. She shifts a little to the side, waiting.

The man begins to talk. The air is cool on the mountain. The bird’s eyes turn black as clouds move to cover the sun with the speed of mountain weather. The man whispers something only she can hear. She reaches out her wings, he bends back moving his head out of her way. She’s up in the sky while the man whistles and calls instructions to her.

The audience all lift their chins skyward shielding their eyes from the brightness of the white cloud. They squint at the black dot that seems to be disappearing. The dot becomes bigger. Someone points into the sky. She glides and dips with the invisible currents of air until with a rustle of her feathers she lands on a perch beside the man with the thick leather glove. The audience claps. The sound is sharp and stilted as it echoes around the top of the mountain.

Feeling brave? Want to share your story? In the words of one Disney princess, Let it go, in the comments below.