Day 85: The Dalliance of Eagles

In Love on March 23, 2013 at 12:41 am

I’ve written a lot about divorce on this blog, and of course the things I’ve learned about what it entails.  Yet, I haven’t written much about what it has taught me concerning marriage.  Seems a funny thing to say that divorce is meant, or can, inform how you interpret such a supreme type of unity. 

It has taught me that marriage isn’t the act that binds a couple–it’s merely a legal appropriation.  Yes, it makes things easier logistically and some would argue it provides a cord that links a familial unit.  Although, I’ve never understood why people rush out to get married upon discovering a pregnancy (in fear that they would have an illegitimate child).  I think there is more illegitimacy in a child experiencing a broken or forced love between his/her parents.  Which leads me to the next thing I know marriage to be.

A love that creates a happiness that others can see (most importantly your children).  This kind of love can’t be found in a short amount of time, but rather it is built throughout a lifetime. 

Sacrifice. I think this component of marriage informs from two directions.  I mean, if you’re willing to sacrifice then you know true love for another, or rather, you have found it.  And then, seeing that sacrifice in action as you live your lives together.

Finally, as I was reading through Walt Whitman’s “The Dalliance of Eagles” today (the poem that inspired this post).  It represents an important, but often overlooked, aspect of marriage or commitment–personal independence and identification.  The poem discusses the courtship ritual of the bald eagle–they resume in flight the courted eagles, dancing and marveling together, claws interlocked, and together take a deep aerial plunge toward the earth.  Then, at the last second, the eagles will release their talons and soar upward toward the sky in what Whitman describes as

A motionless still balance in the air, then parting, talons loosing,  
Upward again on slow-firm pinions slanting, their separate diverse flight,  

She hers, he his, pursuing.

In the ascending flight, the birds find their own strength and identity.They come to know that they are able and that they can soar on their own. Remember though, before they part they dance, this is their dalliance. The eagles know when to let go, they know they have to let go of one another in order rise again. In this, there is transcendence as they soar.

This is one of the most miraculous and overlooked feats an individual must come to know–how to balance love for another and love for individuality.  The goal is not to loose oneself in love, but rather, to find oneself more legitimately. 

Being raised religiously, I’ve watched so many young people get married.  I watch those who wallow in a superficial marriage, those that glom onto their partner’s identity, those who are too young to even know themselves, those who give up their dreams or even the chance at making dreams for marriage, I’ve watched so many eagles, talons interlocked, plunge right into the earth, because they don’t know to let go, they don’t know that by letting go they can find themselves and a deeper love for each other. 

a whit who has learned the dalliance of eagles.

  1. Beautiful

  2. […] I recently read a couple good books that clarified this very concerning mishap in understanding the workings of a healthy relationship. If you haven’t read The Seven Principles to Making a Marriage Work then you should.  As I learned, it doesn’t matter if you’re married, divorced, in a complicated state (as we like to call it thanks to facebook), or hopelessly single.  This book is fabulous at helping individuals understand their role within a union and the inevitable role they must play on their own. […]

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