We were stepping out one fine spring evening admiring the glories of the season, the poplar catkins, the plump elderflower buds, the greening thyme, also the winter’s lush crop of cups and bottles in the ditches. Suddenly a shadow passed in front of us—the shadow of a bald eagle unconcernedly gliding towards the tallest tree in a hedgerow. Moments later another eagle flew in from the opposite direction and landed on the tip of a nearby tree.
A brief eagle conversation ensued: “Chirp?” “Chirp.” “Chirp chirp?” “Chirp.” Beautiful voices! I interpreted the conversation as follows: “Don’t you see that we can’t both fit on your branch?” “But I can move over, like this… no, I suppose you’re right. It is pretty crowded.” “Then how about you join me over here?” “Of course, my love.” Whereupon the first eagle sprang from his (her?) treetop, soared past the other tree, made a graceful turn and alighted beside the second eagle. The two of them put their heads together, chirping happily, and the word cute popped into my head; but I’m sure that eagles don’t consider themselves cute.
It seems we’re seeing more eagles in the Cove this year. It must have been a good winter for them.
Down the road we met a farmer out repairing his fence. What a job! Replacing posts, cutting and hauling away fallen branches, tightening and stapling barbed wire. But farm animals have to be constrained somehow.
By the way, barbed wire consists of wire strands and prickly points twisted together, and if you’ve ever tried climbing through a barbed wire fence you’ll know exactly how it works. Barbed wire was invented in the USA in 1873 to control the movement of cattle on the western plains. At the Barbed Wire History Museum in DeKalb, Illinois (the only barbed wire museum in the world) there are samples of over 2000 varieties of barbed wire, and I’ll bet someone is working on a better design at this very moment.
Before the advent of wire fences, farmers laboriously built wooden fences, erected stone walls, or planted hedgerows around their fields. It took some time for that new-fangled barbed wire technology to reach the East Coast, for images in Meacham’s Atlas reveal that in 1880 wooden fences were status quo on Prince Edward Island.
Speaking of wires: electric crews with their trucks and cranes have recently been out in the Cove replacing utility poles. Someone told me that these extremely tall straight poles come from British Columbia, or maybe from Georgia? (!) All I know is that we don’t grow trees like this on PEI. Thank you, brave men and women, for keeping our electricity flowing.
If only the whole world was as peaceful and gracious as the Island is at this very moment… with specialists being lifted high in the air to make sure we have power for our toasters and modems… with cows and calves munching new grass in carefully tended fields… and eagles falling in love. I for one intend to soak up every bit of beauty, for I know what a luxury it is to live in this magical place.