The Great Northern Diver
Well - here I am at the top of East Rattlesnake mountain in New Hampshire. You can see Squam Lake in the background. This is my most favorite place in the whole world, and once again I cried this past Sunday as I stood on the Greenwood Lodge dock to say good-bye to the lake for another year. And as I was standing there, wondering how I would make it - not seeing the sights, smelling the smells or hearing the sounds - I saw two loons in Bennett Cove trying desperately to take off. Loons are large birds, very large, and they have the most beautiful haunting calls. Every year they must find a way to launch themselves, however awkwardly into the air, to migrate south for the winter. I think these two loons were practicing. It's not yet time for them to leave. It takes them a VERY long time to take off. It's hard grueling work. They stumble and run across the top of the water for several hundred yards, all the while crying out. They work so hard for that one (of two) important take-offs they make each year -for heading south and returning north. Their landings, I hear, are equally ungraceful - a big ker-splash into the water - more like a crash. They are meant to be swimming in the water, not flying in the air. Well the comparisons to my leaving the lake were enormous. It was if the birds were saying to me, "we know it's hard to leave - but if we can do it, so can you." They made it easier for me to walk off that dock.
I often feel like a loon - (o.k. I can hear you laughing out there) - awkward on my take off and even more so on my landings. I can only hope my song while I'm on the lake, though, can be half as beautiful as theirs. Thank you Lord for the Great Northern Diver.