Michelle Vanstrom and Helen Lewis

Helen Lewis
Inspiration piece

By Michelle Vanstrom


You flew in front of my car today, created a visual intersection of liner journey and a horizontal sightline over the asphalt as I drove down Lower River Road. Your perpendicular flight over the open space, over Joe Davis State Park, over the two lane black ribbon towards the Niagara River, a still glass turquoise in the early morning. You flew across the boundary edge of two nations. Your goal: a nest in the treed Canadian shoreline.

Your yellow talons gripped a bundle of dried grass, straw colored stems trailing behind slow flap, seven-foot wings. Grass to freshen the nest. Grass brought daily until the young fledge.

You land on the nest’s edge, curl your talons under in a bird tiptoe to prevent an accidental piercing of two tiny fluff-feathered birds, exchange good morning and a query with your forever mate. “Do I go back out for additional grass, fly for breakfast? Or do you want to leave the nest, spread your wings to glide on the sun’s rising thermals?”

Native American flute lilts across the landscape. A single drum beats. Storm hovers over the horizon. Mountainous gray, egg carton clouds. Illumination and reverberation descend upon the river’s Corridor of Antiquity, shrouds the thousand year old trees—cedars and oaks, the old growth canopy. When rain and mist clear, Eagle perches in the highest oak branches. He spreads his wings, glides towards earth, one yellow-clawed foot extended. As he steps onto the ground, he transforms into Man, a message from the Great Creator. When Eagle comes to where we are working, we know the Creator of the Universe cares, is watching. (An Adaptation Retelling of Erik Phelps’ Native American Myth)


Flew in front of my car today—enroute towards the Niagara River, the gorge, the Canadian treed shoreline. Myth and tale link recognition, a you-are-here intersection. Synchronistic message viewed out the passenger side window as I parallel the Niagara River Greenway, a space where I once advocated for a genuine ecological restoration, advocated and lost, lost a way to restore the Corridor of Antiquity, the old growth forests that once lined the River’s shores, trees Eagle needs to survive.

A talon grasp, a bundle of dried grass. A straw kite trail, tinder for eagle medicine and imbued message: the road as journey, a linear direction cliché, a connection to guides and teachers, to higher truths, to keen insight and creation, a knowing beyond the intellect. Eagle, they sought to extirpate me. Like you, I return to soar over the River with wings held board flat, wings rock steady in a warm wind spiral, the sun’s rising.



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