After a beautiful hike along some coastal waterways, we were heading home. Kurt was hungry and looking forward to getting some food. I was driving, contemplating which way to go.
I have multiple routes around “town.” There’s the 10 minute take-the-highway efficiency route for speedy errands, or a variety of more meandering routes. My favorite way home takes me on back roads past the Muddy River and then over the Cathance River. There are a few stunning vistas over Merrymeeting Bay along the way. You never know what you might see.
“So, how hungry are you,” I asked, glancing over at Kurt.
“Well, do you care if I go the longer way home?”
“That’s okay,” he said.
“I won’t go the longest way,” I said, “but I would like to check out what’s by the Cathance.”
I took the requisite turn, and we drove along companionably in the late afternoon, quiet and comfortably tired from our afternoon trek.
As we neared a potential detour, I shot another glance at Kurt.
“Sometimes I like to turn and go down by The Muddy from this end, ” I ventured hopefully.
“Go ahead,” Kurt said.
“Are you sure?” I asked.
He nodded, and I made the turn happily and continued to chatter, “You know,” I said, “I haven’t seen anything here at all recently except for one lone cormorant. But I figure if I keep coming, I’m bound to see something sometime.”
We crested the hill, and I slowly drove toward the bridge, both of us scanning the landscape. The sun arced from low-lying clouds and the river sparkled. The last vestiges of fall color spotted its banks and reflected warmly in the water. The tree branches shifted and the marsh grasses stirred in the breeze. The bursting cattails arrowed upward. It was beautiful, but there wasn’t a bird in sight. Not on the water. Not in the sky.
“Look!” Kurt whispered urgently, grabbing my arm.
“What!?! Where?” I said, hitting the brakes to stop in the middle of the road, and scanning the water.
“An eagle. Right there!” he pointed.
Sure enough, in a tree by the road, a bald eagle perched on a branch, looking over the river.
“Oh, isn’t he beautiful.”
I put the car in park right there in the middle of the road (country roads, remember?) and grabbed my camera. Kurt rolled down his window and leaned back out of the way, while I snapped picture after picture.
Then we just sat and admired him for a while.
Sometimes you have to take that detour. Sometimes you have to take it more than once. And sometimes, you might just end up in the right place at the right time.