BOOKS BEGIN IN BACKYARDS is the title of one of my public presentations and reflects a lifetime of writing and taking pictures of what I see in my own backyard, literally, or what happens to me personally. Get close to your subject. Write what you know best. This has been my mantra for many years.
I could spend my days just staring out the windows that line the back of my home here on Nanoose Bay as I have spent past years staring out the window onto Mill Bay, the Mackenzie River, and in years past, Island View Beach. I have published stories titled The World at My Window and books about life in my various backyards close to civilization like There’s a Seal in my Sleeping Bag, Gypsy in the Classroom and Tabasco the Saucy Raccoon, or far away places such as There’s a Raccoon in my Parka or Winging it in the North.
Now in October after a three months absence, the bald eagles have returned to their nest in my backyard. This year they raised one young which was shielded carefully and often out of sight till ready to fledge, possibly a reaction to losing newborns in previous years.
One morning last week I was standing staring glazedly out the window when an adult eagle swooped in from the right above the gazebo, skimmed the beach, flapped to the top of the tallest tree and landed in its home for the past four years. I don’t know where it or its mate or its single young had been since the nesting season ended, perhaps seeking spawning salmon on neighbouring or northern rivers, but I did know why this parent eagle had returned.
A long several-stemmed tree branch dangled from its talons. It was ready to renovate its nest.
I was not quick enough this time to grab my camera as I was last October. That lucky day, October 31st, the returning eagle was carrying a load of dry broom. It was the Hallowe’en witch riding by on her broomstick.