[ by Charles Cameron — I suppose you could call this “land-sea battle” ]
I couldn’t quite let this tweet go by without recalling the two quotes that gave me the DoubleQuotes idea in the first place:
From Haniel Long’s Letter to Saint Augustine:
My friend Jens Jensen, who is an ornithologist, tells me that when he was a boy in Denmark he caught a big carp embedded in which, across the spinal vertebrae, were the talons of an osprey. Apparently years before, the fish hawk had dived for its prey, but had misjudged its size. The carp was too heavy for it to lift up out of the water, and so after a struggle the bird of prey was pulled under and drowned. The fish then lived as best it could with the great bird clamped to it, till time disintegrated the carcass, and freed it, all but the bony structure of the talon.
And from Annie Dillard‘s Teaching a Stone to Talk:
And once, says Ernest Seton Thompson–once, a man shot an eagle out of the sky. He examined the eagle and found the dry skull of a weasel fixed by the jaws to his throat. The supposition is that the eagle had pounced on the weasel and the weasel swiveled and bit as instinct taught him, tooth to neck, and nearly won. I would like to have seen that eagle from the air a few weeks or months before he was shot: was the whole weasel still attached to his feathered throat, a fur pendant? Or did the eagle eat what he could reach, gutting the living weasel with his talons before his breast, bending his beak, cleaning the beautiful airborne bones?
The photo almost, though not quite, captures the full circularity of the two narratives above — but even so, the sense of two elemental beasts, one of earth, one of water, grappling each with the other, is powerful, rare, and memorable.