Sarah Hasty Williams

The Eagle and the Tree

One afternoon when I was a small child in Rockingham, North Carolina, I was mesmerized by the trees in our the front yard. I watched them sway gently as the wind blew intermittently. The light hit the leaves of the great maple tree, giving them fresh yellow green and sparkles of white and the deep dusky blue greens of the shadows. The contrasting shapes of the shadows and lights had a life of their own. Then, when I really focused on the closest leaves and branches, the bits of detail and texture took me to another dimension.

I have always felt a very deep affinity for trees. They have been like guardians, friends, and powerful symbols for me. When I was in my thirties and going through some rough times, I had a powerful dream that has become a recurring one: A mighty oak tree springs up like Jack’s beanstalk in the middle of my bedroom. The roots go deep into the earth and the branches spread wide and push heavenward with such strength that they lift the roof right off the house.

In the top of the tree is a bald eagle. She is sitting peacefully with her wings by her side. Then she turns her head and angles it to look down at me. She locks eyes with me and stands on her perch, slowly stretching her wings until they reach their full length and breadth.

The branches of the tree and the wings of the eagle cover me, my home, and everything in it.