|Singleton spotted a golden eagle in November 1992.|
(For decades, local historian and paranormal investigator George “Buster” Singleton published a weekly newspaper column called “Somewhere in Time.” The column below, which was titled “God knew best when He created the eagle” was originally published in the Dec. 10, 1992 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)
Today, Nov. 30, was my lucky day.
For reasons that I can’t explain, I ventured forth and found myself once again looking out over the beautiful valley and river that is to be seen from atop Nancy Mountain. The cool chill of the afternoon breeze made me wish for warmer clothes, but within a few minutes, I had forgotten all about being chilled.
I had come this way in hopes that I might see again, before this year was over, my friend and buddy, the golden eagle, that I had seen on various occasions as he sailed over the valley below.
As I searched the skies over the river and the distant hills, I was about to give up and head for home and warmer surroundings. My binoculars lay on the wooden log bench beside me. I had not bothered to take them from their carrying case, because as of yet, I had not spotted my friend.
But then, way off in the distance, over the area of what is Packer’s Bend, something caught my eye. I grabbed my binoculars and ripped them from the case. As I focused the glasses on the object in the distance, I knew that I was in luck. Slowly, ever so slowly, my friend, the huge golden eagle, rode the afternoon air currents and gradually turned in the direction of Nancy Mountain.
I rested my binoculars against the side of a tall slender pine tree that grew there on the hill. I didn’t want to miss any movement of this beautiful creature as he glided this way and that along the winding river in the distance below me.
Slowly he would turn and bank sharply to the south. Then he would level off and then gradually climb higher into the afternoon sky as though he was seeking the better air currents.
The beauty and grace of this creature was something to behold. Never once did he move his wings except to slightly tip the ends as he gained altitude over the valley below, now decorated with the wondrous colors of autumn.
I was seeing beauty and grace at its very best. How one could witness what I was now seeing and not believe in God was beyond my comprehension. Nothing this beautiful could have just happened by itself.
I realized that I had been looking through my binoculars for over 20 minutes. A quick glance towards the river told me that I needed to rest my eyes. Everything had become colorless and was running together. Regretfully, I lowered the glasses, and as my eyes became focused once again, I could see that my friend had positioned himself higher in the afternoon sky. He had moved up more to the center of the large valley below me. Once again, with the help of the binoculars, I could see the huge eagle in every detail.
Slowly as he turned facing the winding river, I could see his left eye as it rolled this way and that. I felt sure that he could see me standing there looking his way and admiring his every move. I wondered if for some reason or another, he was showing off just for my benefit.
As he made a wide turn to the south, I could see the white feathers along his breast. I could also see his feet, drawn up tightly against his body as he performed ever so elegantly on the afternoon winds.
Slowly the wind currents carried him to his desired altitude. Then he dipped his wing and circled to the right and to the left. It seemed that he was doing his best to stay in full view of his admirer, there atop beautiful Nancy Mountain.
Once again, the beautiful eagle let the air currents carry his westward toward the winding river. Sailing slowly across the river, I could see him viewing the large open field in the distance. It could be that he was looking for his evening meal. He had no way of knowing, but I would have gladly purchased him the largest steak in Monroe County, if he had come down from his place in the sky and let me touch him or view him at closer range.
As he gave the large field a good looking over, I rested my eyes once again. As my eyes came on focus, I realized that he was making his way up the river, slowly moving toward the north. Then, as if he had changed his mind, he did a steep turn and headed once again out over the center of the huge valley.
The beautiful eagle seemed to stop in mid-air, as the eastwardly winds lifted him high in the evening sky. Such grace and beauty is not to be found easily; I knew I was once of the more fortunate this last day of November.
Slowly, this graceful bird dropped the tip of his left wing and made a lazy turn to the north. Something told me that my beautiful friend was about to depart from his high place above the colorful valley.
As he slowly faded into the distance, I knew that I had been most fortunate to have witnessed one of God’s move beautiful creations in its magnitude of greatness. As I sat down on the wooden log bench for a few moments of thought, I knew also that the prophet Isaiah must have witnessed the flight of a wonderful creature such as I had just seen before he wrote these inspiring words of promise:
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings as eagles;
They shall run, and not be weary;
And they shall walk, and not faint.
The crisp evening air had lost its chill; I departed Nancy Mountain not once thinking that I was cold, but knowing that I had been allowed to witness an event that will forever warm my soul and dwell in memory always…
(Singleton, the author of the 1991 book “Of Foxfire and Phantom Soldiers,” passed away at the age of 79 on July 19, 2007. A longtime resident of Monroeville, he was born to Vincent William Singleton and Frances Cornelia Faile Singleton, during a late-night thunderstorm, on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County, graduated from Sweet Water High School in 1946, served as a U.S. Marine paratrooper in the Korean War, worked as a riverboat deckhand, lived for a time among Apache Indians, moved to Monroe County on June 28, 1964 and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from June 28, 1964 to Dec. 14, 1987. He was promoted from the enlisted ranks to warrant officer in May 1972. For years, Singleton’s columns, titled “Monroe County history – Did you know?” and “Somewhere in Time” appeared in The Monroe Journal, and he wrote a lengthy series of articles about Monroe County that appeared in Alabama Life magazine. It’s believed that his first column appeared in the March 25, 1971 edition of The Monroe Journal. He is buried in Pineville Cemetery in Monroeville. The column above and all of Singleton’s other columns are available to the public through the microfilm records at the Monroe County Public Library in Monroeville. Singleton’s columns are presented here each week for research and scholarship purposes and as part of an effort to keep his work and memory alive.)