We’ve lived on the White River in Vermont for 23 years. Our property includes an island—a rocky outcropping covered with plants and a few large cottonwood trees—in the middle of the river.
Many years ago, some local beavers girdled the largest tree on the downstream end of the island. Eventually, the leaves shriveled and fell to the earth. Then the smaller branches began to fall off. Then the bark sloughed off leaving the white bones of the tree easily visible from both sides of the river.
Our white tree became a favorite roost for bald eagles, an exciting event whenever they showed up, usually early in the morning. In fact, it got to be a habit to look out the window at the tree the first thing in the morning.
Last winter, we realized that the tree was leaning more and more, that it had developed a crack that ran vertically from the roots through the center of the tree.
We knew it was only a matter of time before it fell and it did, just the other night—without a sound.
Our landscape feels diminished without our eagle tree. I wanted to share a portrait of the tree and then some of our favorite eagle photos in their preferred perch.