The Year is Complete!

Please feel free to look back through the 365 days of 2010 sunrises, but "a year of getting up to meet the day" is officially completed. There will be no more new posts.


Thank you so much for visiting.
A one year blog project in which I share a process of transitions: emptying of the nest, reacquainting with my rusty intellect, plowing onward with my first full length book, entering the second half of my first century, and generally reflecting on life.

(see Dec. 29th, 2009 entry for further explanation)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

the solitary loon

sunrise:  5:28

I read a poem once that was called something like “stalking the wild loon.” It described the bird’s clever trick of ducking below the surface of the water just as you begin to close in on it. Then he pops up half a minute later about 50 yards away.

I was stalking a loon with my camera this morning. He seemed to tolerate my presence surprisingly well for a while, then he began a quiet evasive maneuver along the surface, and finally took the plunge.

It is an intriguing bird, very beautiful, evocative of wilderness and solitude. In the last two decades loons have adapted to more populated areas and are now not quite as rare to see on lakes or ocean front where there are people around. But it is still a very private bird. More often than not, when you see a loon, it is alone – a lone loon.

The contrast to yesterday was striking. This loon was swimming just a few yards away from where we were on the lake shore with 6 dogs, 6 kids 2 young adults and 3 grown-ups (they may be in their 20’s, but I still have to make a distinction between my kids, who are no longer kids, and full-fledged adults). It was the first time I ventured to let my three dogs join the fray unleashed, and it all worked out beautifully – after a fashion, anyway. Let’s say everyone ironed out their differences then had a lot of fun.

Our house of two people in this cluster of family houses has grown to 6 now. N and I had two quiet days before the rest arrived yesterday. J arrived, plus all three daughters and a guest. I had an interesting conversation with N about wanting more people around to do stuff with. I brought up the importance of learning to enjoy one’s own company, and she was quick to point out that her work in a lab is highly solitary. Off work, she wants to enjoy other people’s company. Fair enough.

The loon is a model of solitude – peaceful, contented, serene solitude. I like to learn from his example, but then I realize that I was the one pursuing the bird, in order to get closer and be near him. Human beings are naturally social beings, as a species. It is not surprising that we are happier with others, or seek out companionship.

But it’s not a bad idea to learn from the loon either. Inevitably, there will be times in life when we are alone, with only ourselves for company. It’s nice to appreciate those times, embrace them with the same noble grace as the solitary loon.

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