Where Eagles Swim

A Fable by Tom Radcliffe

There is a place, north along the Pacific coast, where tree-covered mountain slopes plunge steeply into deep blue water, where eagles swim. This is really true.

They are awkward in the water, pulling themselves slowly along with sharply bent wings. Wings that were evolved to fly. Sometimes other eagles fly overhead, screeching to the empty sky, "Swimming Eagles are Un-natural!" "Eagles Are Shaped By Evolution To Fly!" "This Is An Offense Against Darwin!" They never ask how it feels to the eagles down below, as cool clear water infiltrates between feathers made dusty, hot and dry by the bright summer's day. And they keep their distance when the swimming eagles wade up the rocky beach, flutter the water from their wings, fan and dry themselves in the still air, and finally with a single majestic beat lift off.

But as the protesting eagles fly away, sometimes one looks back and wonders, "If there is a place where eagles swim, joyfully and without harm to anyone, perhaps swimming is natural to eagles."