The Loon

17 Dec

Sometimes a creature grabs you from the inside and holds you. It might be a particular flower whose beauty is translated to your heart. It might be a shimmering butterfly that dances in your mind’s eye. Or it might be the song of a meadowlark that fills your ears with sweetness.

There is one that captured me in my childhood and still pulls me like a siren and muse. Its voice can be ethereal, or wild and almost supernatural. It tugs at primitive strings in my soul and tethers me between a vast space of a wildness we can’t even comprehend, and the short time of our humanity that seems so pitiful compared to the beauty and innocence of this creature.

My childhood and most of my adulthood were spent in the northern regions of this country: Maine, New York, and Oregon. I know the voice of the loon. I know this bird. It is ingrained in my being like the beating of my heart. It stirs deep inside like a wolf howl.

The loon may lack the iridescent and bright colors of many other birds, but its simplicity makes it regal, humble and honest. Both parents share the care of their young and carry them on their backs in the water. And they stay with their chosen mates throughout nesting and migration. Yet, their numbers decline rapidly due to habitat loss and a sensitivity to toxic minerals, especially mercury and lead, in the mainstay of their lives: water.

If you have heard the call of a loon during an early foggy morning on a lake, you don’t forget it. Ever. It haunts you like a siren. The voice of the loon has no threat. Instead, it elicits a profound feeling of innate and inexplicable comfort and alliance. It literally gives me goosebumps and simultaneously, a surge of happiness. It stirs inexplicable primitive feelings for which no words can explain. It is the call of a species at the brink of possible extinction, calling for another chance.

Their voice brings me to tears and stirs my soul. All I can do is close my eyes and become a part of the sound, the bird and its environment.

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3 Responses to “The Loon”

  1. danny and maggie hancock December 18, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

    we love loons too having only seen one once in the yellowstone. hope to see and hear more in the future.

    • Macrobe December 25, 2014 at 10:55 am #

      Thank you, Danny! Will post when time and Internet access allows.

    • Macrobe January 9, 2015 at 4:48 pm #

      I am hoping to join a conservation or research team focusing on the loons during summer of 2016. Most likely Maine or upstate New York.

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