What comes to your mind when you hear the word “patterns”?
Many may instantly think of a quilt, a bolt of pretty fabric, an area rug or possibly some decorative wallpaper. If we think about it patterns exist all around us, and not all patterns are visible. As I type these words I can hear the consistent “tick-tock” of the grandfather clock that stands across the room and the repetitive song of a robin outside my window.
Patterns are often comforting like the sweet, soothing rhythms of the breathing of a sleeping baby cradled safely in your arms. Some patterns may be dangerously hypnotizing too. Most of us have personally experienced the dulling of the senses that overtakes the focus of road-wearied drivers as they slowly become mesmerized by the endless parade of passing lane lines on a darkened highway. Even in bright daylight patterns can be deceptive. In my former life in the field of traffic engineering there was a condition known as an”expectancy violation.” It referred to those situations where a roadway ran parallel to an object like a long fence (similar to those found around a military base or an airport). Studies showed that drivers were more likely to drive off the pavement when the roadway eventually curved but the roadside fence continued on in a straight line. Their minds had expected the road to continue along the fence line and when that expectation was violated accidents happened, even in dry, daylight conditions. Roadways meeting that criteria often need additional signage to alert and refocus the motorist.
Patterns. They are all around us. In life we sometimes refer to patterns as routines. Alarm clock buzzes, hit the snooze button, alarm clock buzzes, hit the off button, long sigh, feet on the floor, scratch whatever is itching, stumble and grumble to the bathroom… Patterns surround us each and every day and some are more welcomed than others.
Roger reminded me of this fact yesterday when he posted this image on Facebook.
This is Jim sitting on one of his favorite perches keeping a protective eye on his domain. During the nesting season he is seldom seen here as he and Cindy are busy incubating, brooding, guarding, hunting and feeding the eaglets. Now that the youngsters are flying his pattern is changing. From this perch he can view the deep recesses of the well field where our eagle family spends most of its time each July, but he can also view Eagle Lake. This is the largest lake in the well field and is just across the fence from Ohio Route 4, east of Harshman Road. Eagle Lake is where the juveniles will hone their hunting skills over the next several weeks.
I find it reassuring to see this familiar transition to his new pattern taking place. The last several months have been demanding on Jim and Cindy. Any parent can relate to the demands of caring for infants and toddlers. But they are now entering a time when the young ones are growing in ability, self-reliance and independence (another pattern) which means less stress for Mom and Dad.
Lisa has even reported seeing both adults and at least one of the juveniles along Eagle Lake! Juveniles are much harder to spot especially from a passing car traveling at 60 miles per hour. Even though they are the same size as the adults and their distinctive, upright posture is hard to mistake if they are perched atop a tree, without the bright white head and tail feathers of Mom and Dad they blend into the background when they are perched somewhere lower.
Past patterns have proven that the juveniles will slowly begin to make more and more public appearances around Eagle Lake, eventually crossing Harshman Road to fish the waters of Eastwood. I hope to be able to post additional images of the youngsters soon as I keep you updated on Jim and Cindy’s unfolding adventure.
It is a challenge to relate their annually repetitive story in a new way each year. (Although bare statistics fascinate me, I have found that they bore most people.) That is one reason why I appreciate patterns. They add color, comfort and familiarity to our lives even when they are actually repeating the same thing over and over again and again and again.