Doug Bruns

Casco Bay, 5:00 am.

In Mythology, Nature on April 12, 2011 at 7:37 pm

I was awakened at 5:00 am this morning by a screeching, a sound akin to what I think a baby seal must make when its ice flow drifts away from mother, or at least in my interrupted slumber that is what it sounded like. But it was nothing so troublesome or romantic. The Wendameen, an historic Maine schooner, built in 1912 and used to sail tourists around Casco Bay, is tied up on the dock below my bedroom window. In the winter it is stripped and shrink wrapped and left to struggle against the Maine winter alone. Soon, however, it will come out of hibernation and move four wharfs away where it will impress upon its visitors a singular beauty. But now, this morning, it was rocking against the dock, the protective bumper squeaking as the tide rose, plaintive like the abandoned seal.

I got up and boiled water and let the coffee seep four minutes before pressing, as I do every morning. Always the same. Grind, pour, wait, drink. Sigh. This morning I looked, again as I always do, at the thermometer. It was fifty-five degrees outside and I opened the porch door and stepped out. The balcony faces east and the light was low and the color of honey. I looked up to the river and bobbing there in the golden coins of surface water must have been fifty common eiders, black on white, chirping, like a congregation before the service begins, low and personal, amongst themselves. They are collecting themselves, getting ready to head north for the summer. And below me, directly, was the loon I’d been watching recently. Molted. Black and white and the neck ringed. Also, getting ready to leave.

I am saddened to see them leave, these birds who have succeeded against winter so spectacularly. And tonight, so unusual, the tremolo call of the loon. My neighbor who has lived here twenty years tells me she’s never heard the loon call from the wharf. Magic, that call. Listen. They say the loon is amongst the oldest of the birds. Fifty million years or so. Good bye friends, safe travels. Welcome back, Persephone. It is good to see you again.

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  1. Beautiful description! Worth coming home for. I was also surprised to see a loon this year. Have not seen one in my 14 years at Chandler’s.

    • Susan ~ Thanks for checking in. I hope your travels are going well. Yes, spring in Maine. Good to be here. But your digs, I’m sure, are also delightful. Travel safe.

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